Perfectionism In The Short Story 'Pancakes'

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Perfectionism is often viewed as a psychological flaw by people who have found themselves in the presence of it, despite its positive potential. In the short story “Pancakes” by Joan Bauer, a teenage girl named Jill is labeled a perfectionist by her mother and ex-boyfriend, both annoyed at her for being so, while she does not see a problem with said characteristic; in the short story “The Crummy First Draft” by Anne Lamott, the author advices her readers on how to write a perfect piece by going through a lengthy yet effective process. Aiming for the best should not be utterly categorized negatively nor positively as it can be a factor in achieving greatness and chaos simultaneously. Things are not always black and white, one has to think…show more content…
“I’m not going to be able to get the magic to work this time. I’m ruined. I’m through. I’m toast” (Lamott par 2), these negatives thoughts the author has towards her performance start to seem unhealthy, as if she is not enjoying what she is doing. Experts show that normal perfectionists are inclined to strive for perfection without compromising their self-esteem, and gaining pleasure from simply trying their best. “But because by then I had been writing for so long, I would eventually let myself trust the process—sort of, more or less” (Lamott par 3), author transitions from obsessive unhealthy behavior to normal perfectionist behavior. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper” (Lamott par 7), Anne [Lamott] catches herself crossing that line and thinks rationally, avoiding going downhill. However, in Pancakes by Bauer, Jill is stubborn and struggles to accept what a friend has pointed out, “The problem with you, Jill, is that if the least little thing goes wrong, you can’t handle it. Everything has to follow this impossible path to perfection. Someday, and I hope it’s soon for your sake, you’re going to have to settle for sub-par performance and realize that you’re imperfect like the rest of us” (Bauer. Line…show more content…
In Pancakes, [Jill] goes into depth about how she came to be the way she is, “Didn’t I figure out a way to handle the pressure? When my very roots were being yanked from familiar soil, I became orderly and organized” (Bauer line 77-80). Since her father had to move a lot for work, she had to adapt very quickly and being organized in everything that she could manage helped her cope with the fact that she had to move frequently. It is a very human thing to want to belong some place, to someone, while being a teenage girl that intensifies to about one-hundred percent. She needed to be liked and make friends to make her feel as if she belonged somewhere for at least a few months. Likewise, in The Crummy First Draft, author found her own pattern to get stuff done and in order, “Finally I would pick up my one-inch picture frame, stare into it as if for the answer, and every time the answer would come: all I had to do was to write a really crummy first draft of, say, the opening paragraph. And no one was going to see it” (Lamott par 2). Lamott implies that she had been a writer for a very long time before she found a pattern, by saying that every time the answer will revel itself, it indicates a lot of experience, a lot of time to get to know how her mind works and to find a good
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