From ant hills to shadowed grottos

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"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." ~ sec. 2


This quote was taken from the bottom page of section two of "Bernice Bobs Her Hair". Marjorie was currently debating on whether or not she should attempt to convince Mrs. Harvey (her mother) of the fact that Bernice was dull and socially awkward. From the sentence written just before this one, it can be deduced that Mrs. Harvey is over the age of 40, more likely 45. Marjorie stands so assured in her beliefs, utterly unwilling to listen to whatever her mother might say. Marjorie is more than willing to shout from the top of her little hill and shout out her convictions pertaining to Bernice. Why wouldn't she? It seems that simply because she's popular with the boys she believes that her every thought and action has been validated by her success.


Marjorie's mother however, speaks with years of experience. This woman may not know exactly what is "in" with the popular crowd now, but she's been around the block of Life a time or two. She knows that in a few days or weeks no one will remember the trivialities of who danced with whom or the number of boys that came calling for a single girl in an afternoon. Put all of it together and the author could be saying that what seems most important in life now, really won't matter later on down the road. The inner strength (or insanity) exhibited by Bernice at the end of the story is something that will stick with her throughout her life. So, boys may come and go, confidantes and cousin's may shame or embarrass you, but you will always have your own will. Sure, you can plant yourself on your self-made mole hill and scream until your voice is gone, but you can always be knocked off that perch and sent rolling to the ground below, pelted by the elements all the while. Though if you set up camp in a cave, you'll have steady ground beneath your feet and you'll have shelter from the storms outside.

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5 Comments

Great job with the imagery and metaphors. :)
I think that what is significant about this is that we only gain experience after being knocked off the top of our hills a few times Basically, we learn from our mistakes. It is after we have hit the bottom of the hill for the umpteenth time that we realize we would be much safer in a cave.

Greta Carroll said:

I really liked that quote you picked, that one jumped out at me too when I was reading. You did a good job with your analysis of it too. I really agree with you that Marjorie, being young and ignorant, is willing to shove her opinions on everyone else rashly. She never pauses to consider any other possible alternatives. She is right, end of story. Her mother, on the other hand, might not be willing to proclaim her beliefs to the whole world. She is more cautious and realizes there is more than being right and wrong. And maybe eventually, with time, Marjorie will find her cave too.

Jeanine O'Neal said:

Your's is a uniquely refreshing approach than that which I would have taken. When I read this quote, I saw it as an ironic statement. Generally, 45 year-old women have reached the climax of their life (the symbolic hill) while 18 year-olds have yet to come out from their caves and view the world in less egocentric terms. Fitzgerald ironically switched the roles of the mother and daughter in this statement to show how the 18 year-old mind works (eg. teenagers think they know better than their parents).

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I really liked how you compared and contrasted Majorie's mother and herself. The fact that you brought in a mother's insightful words of wisdom and then contrasted them to the petty world of an adolescent was perfect. I think that it really brings the story to light.

Kaitlin Monier said:

I really like the quote you chose. You also explained it very well. At first, I was unsure of what it might mean, but your interpretation of the quote makes a lot of sense and I agree with it.

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This page contains a single entry by MadelynGillespie published on February 2, 2008 10:39 PM.

Flashing neon lights and nagging phone salesmen on shrouded corners was the previous entry in this blog.

Those Cossacks sure ran them Frenchies out into the cold non? is the next entry in this blog.

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