Maxine Clair's The Last Day Of School

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[1] I found myself staring in the mirror, over-analyzing each minute detail of my outfit and every miniscule aspect of my body for flaws. [2] Imagining the stares of my classmates piercing me, the ominous ticking of the clock, and a laugh from the back of the room, I stumbled over my own mess of an appearance. [3] While adjusting my shirt, I rehearsed my speech, gazing over the empty bathroom and mimicking eye contact with my audience. [4] With repetition, I grew fluent, and with fluency I grew confident, even though my stomach churned anxiously and my parched mouth yearned for water. [5] I feared the ruining of my reputation; for I had an excellent one that I had built up from scratch, yet with just one mistake it could witness its destruction.…show more content…
[2] In Maxine Clair’s Rattlebone, Irene and Lydia both encounter a change in status, where Irene’s family becomes well known, where Lydia is disgraced. [3] As displayed in “The Last Day of School”, Irene’s family was “fast becoming ‘established’” (203), a new phenomenon for their previously just surviving family. [4] While Irene celebrates her family’s new status; Lydia fears the result of allowing pregnant Miss Brown in her honorable home. [5] Anxiously exclaiming, “The word’s going to get around…then what…[our house] ain’t going to be on the list” (86), Lydia recognizes the power of gossip that, were Miss Brown to remain, would impact their reputation as a house for teachers. [6] Control-freaks, Irene and Lydia, aim to regulate as much of their lives as possible, Irene by straightening her pleats and Lydia by preventing her rooming-house from becoming a source of rumors. [7] When Irene boldly lies to her school principal, “I looked her straight in the eye the way people do when they are telling the truth…‘She hit him’” (19), she reveals her intent to harm the reputation of Miss Brown, which, by extension allows Irene to control her own life. [8] Throughout Rattlebone, gossip remains a means to a both good and bad reputation, which governs the lives of

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