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Monday, March 11, 2013

judge the character #1

A big thank you to Joan for her submission. Let her know in the comments your impression of her character(s) below...

“Hey.” I slow down to catch my breath. “I like your jacket.”
“It’s okay,” Joanna says. She drops her voice. “You can tell me it looks ugly. I think it looks ugly.”
“I don’t think it looks ugly.”
“Thanks.” She looks around us, then pulls me closer. “Here, take a look at this.”
She pulls her pockets open and I catch a flash of metal. I lean forward.
Guns. Pistols. Canisters and twine and many little bottles of antiseptic.
“Why are you showing me this?” I ask.
Joanna releases her pockets and the fabric shuts again. “Your head didn’t seem 100% in the party. I thought you were like me. Worried.”
“Worried about…” I trail away.
“You know about it, Sibyl,” she presses. Mindy’s stopped for a breather and sees the two of us. She waves, then frowns.
I take Joanna’s hand and make her dance. But even then, I know our expressions are not right. My mouth feels tight and my cheeks are sore from smiling.
“Sure I do,” I say. “I just choose not to think about it.”
“That’s stupid.” Joanna stops moving. A few heads turn in our direction, but we don’t hold much attention. “It’s right outside, Sibyl. It’s all around us. Ignoring the G—” She falters, then grabs my arm and shakes it. “Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away. Look at them,” she snaps all of a sudden, fingers digging into my skin. “Dancing as if it’s their last night. What will they do when it turns out to be true?”
           “Stop,” Deep in my stomach, I know I’m being silly. But there’s a time and place for everything, and right now I don’t want to hear Joanna. I shrug my arm out of her grip. “It’s graduation night. Nothing is going to happen to us.”

My very first impression is that the narrator and Joanna are very good friends - if not best - indicated by the way Joanna drops her voice and asks for honesty, and then shows off what she's got. I was confused by the mention of Mindy and surprised by Sibyl's reaction to the arsenal Joanna shows her. It looks like Joanna is about to go on a killing spree. The question is what prompted this? and why is Sibyl acting like she's in denial when Joanna's words indicate she's well aware of the plan? All of this leads me to think that Joanna is the stronger of the two characters and Sibyl the follower. I'm definitely very curious about what's going to happen!

Now what do you guys think about these characters? What was your first impression?


Chris said...

I'm definitely interested in what these girls are involved in. It seems like some crazy stuff is about to go down, and I'd like to know what prompted this as well.

From this paragraph I get the impression that Sybil is trying to stay calm, or even avoid the issue. But she isn't trying to diffuse it here. Perhaps she's hoping that Johanna will postpone her plan, or she's too passive to stop/control the upcoming event.

Overall, I think Sybil's state of mind could be a bit clearer here, but Johanna is a strong character and the tension between them is terrific. Very intriguing!

Patchi said...

I liked the two characters. Sybil seems to be a Pollyanna-type character, while Joanna is the one preparing for the storm. I got caught on the arsenal in her pocket. How could she fit so much there? How could she dance?

Patsy said...

It's an interesting excerpt but I too was confused by the meaning of the guns etc. Perhaps it was read in context it would be clearer. It seemed to me that she intended them for defence and was possibly paranoid.

Must be a very big jacket!