Regional Narrative Ideas a New York Essay

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Regional Narrative

Narrative Ideas

• a New York City girl goes 'down south' to go to college

• a Protestant African-American student dates an Irish-Catholic girl in New England -- the first time someone in the recently-immigrated family has dated someone who is not Irish

• A Western girl who has been home-schooled and lived on a ranch visits her grandparents in the New Jersey suburbs for the first time.

Regional Details

• The culture of southern sororities

• The persistent sense of 'Irishness' even in America, amongst the Irish who have emigrated

• Protestant-Catholic and racial conflicts

• The outdoorsy culture of the west and the confined culture of suburban sprawl

Exercise 6.2A: Pre-Writing: Character Inventory


Ten years old

Has lived on a cattle ranch all of her life in the West

Mother was from the east, married a rancher

Middle child -- two older brothers and one younger sister

Loves horses and has own horse

Most of the contact with grandparents has been through phone calls, emails, and the presents they send to her

Home-schooled with brothers and sisters

Has few friends her own age

Calls herself a 'girly' tomboy

Loves the color pink

Loves getting her jeans dirty

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Has never been to a big city

Exercise 6.3A: Pre-Writing: Try It Out

Essay on Regional Narrative Ideas &Bull; a New York Assignment

Lexi hardly slept the first night. Other than one or two sleep-aways at her cousin's, she had never been away from her own bed. Things were both too quiet and too noisy to sleep. She missed the snoring of her father's hound in the den downstairs. She missed the utter silence outside of her window. All night, cars could be heard whizzing by. She only had a vague sense of where she was on the map -- New Jersey. Her grandparents' spare room smelled like lavender, from the Yankee candles that they had placed in the bedroom. Nothing was rumpled, dusty, or dirty. Lexi felt that she still smelled slightly of cow and horse dung, even though her mother had tried to make her extra clean before putting her on the plane.

The digital clock said 6:29. Lexi was used to getting up much earlier, to help her father with the cattle. She liked riding her horse in the early morning and holding open gates and latching them shut, knowing she was making a contribution to the ranch. She walked down the stairs. There was no smell. Most Sundays, her mother was already frying bacon for the ranch hands. Then mom would fry the eggs in the bacon grease. Lexis favorite breakfast was pancakes and bacon with maple syrup slathered all over it. She didn't drink coffee, but she liked to drink in the smell of her father's strong brew.

"My goodness you're up early," said her grandmother. "It's a Sunday. I came to go to the bathroom, and you're already up. Would you like to watch some cartoons? Here, I got you some special cereals I know you will like." Her grandmother poured a bowl of pink circles and paler pink marshmallows into a white china bowl and poured her granddaughter a glass of orange juice. Then her grandmother turned on the television. "I bet you'll love the Smurfs on the Cartoon Network." Lexi took a bite of the cereal and made a face. How could something that was such a pretty color taste so terrible? "Don't you talk?" asked her grandmother, expecting a 'thanks.' Lexi's father was a man of few words, and the question struck Lexi as absurd.

Exercise 6.4A: Pre-Writing: Revising Your Scene

Cowgirls don't sleep, they always keep one eye open, Lexi thought. She'd hardly spent but one or two days away from the ranch, but she would be brave, because she was a cowgirl, that's what her daddy called her. But where were the sounds she loved? Where was Boo, the old basset, snoring away by the stairs? Where was the silence of the open air outside? She didn't like the fact the window was closed but was really scared to open it. The room smelled weird, like her grandmother, sorta perfumey. And for the first time, Lexi felt like she smelled, being around all of that perfume.

The digital clock said 6:29. Lexi was glad the clock was digital because she still had a real hard time reading a clock with hands. Her father would have been out on horseback since 5am. She'd be his little partner, riding beside him, opening the gates if she coulda been there with him.

Lexi couldn't stay in bed no longer -- she had to get up and go. She wanted to be on her little horse, Miss Texas. She crept downstairs, guessing Grandma and Pop-Pop were still sleeping because there was no eggs frying, no smell of bacon grease. None of her dad's chicory coffee.

"My goodness you're up early," said her grandmother. "It's a Sunday. I came to go to the bathroom, and you're already up. Would you like to watch some cartoons? Here, I got you some special cereals I know you will like." The cereal bowl of pink circles and paler pink marshmallows into a white china bowl was pretty and so was the fancy glass of orange juice. But Lexi hated orange juice, she only liked orange pop. Grandma turned on the television. "I bet you'll love the Smurfs on the Cartoon network." Lexi took a bite of the cereal and made a face. Pretty is as pretty does -- the stuff didn't hold a candle to her mom's pancakes. "Don't you talk?" asked her grandmother, expecting Lexi to say 'thanks.'

"I'm not talkin' any more or less than I do."

Exercise 6.4C: Regional Narrative

Lexi loved to hear the story about how her mom met her dad. Her mom was at a trade show for cattlemen. She worked for a fancy New York shoe store back then. As soon as she set eyes on Lexi's dad, she knew he was the man for him. She didn't sell him a pair of boots for her company (dad only wore Ariats) but she did manage to wrangle dad. The two of them got married shortly after and mom settled into the role of being a ranch hand's wife. The ranch was in a remote location of Texas, so mom had to home school all of her four kids, which kept her busy. Lexi was the middle child, the quiet one. Dad's little helper.

On Lexi's birthday and Christmases, Grandma and Pop-Pop would always send a big box of toys and books from the east. Some of the stuff Lexi liked, like the fancy rhinestone jewelry she could use to pretend to be a princess before her older brothers told her to shut up and stop being dumb. She also liked the dolls and particularly the stuffed replicas of tigers and lions, two kinds of animals that she never saw in Texas. But other toys were pretty strange, like the My Little Ponies she got, because her grandmother said that she knew Lexi loved horses. Lexi had a real horse, Miss Texas. The My Little Ponies looked nothing like the horses Lexi was used to.

Sometimes Lexi would visit her cousins on her dad's side in Texas. Although they were her kin, they didn't live on a ranch, and she found the giggling and whispering girls really weird. They played computer games and watched TV a lot, which Lexi wasn't really allowed to do. Plus, the stuff she had was pretty old compared to theirs, and the TV reception was bad on the ranch. Lexi also felt kind of weird when she talked to her grandmother, who was always worried about Lexi getting hurt. She had only talked to grandma on the phone, and the couple of times grandma came for the holidays. Grandma and Pop-Pop lived in New Jersey but it might as well have been Mars, as far as Lexi was concerned. They were just a voice, more or less.

"You must at least send Lexi over for a visit. I know you need the boys on the ranch and Adele is too young to travel. But Lexi is ten, that's a perfect age for a visit. You know we're not getting any younger." That was it. All her grandparents had to say was 'we're not getting any younger,' and mom would feel guilty and say okay to whatever they asked. Mom couldn't go because she had to keep up with her brother's and little sister's homeschooling as well as do a million chores for the ranch. The washing and cooking never ended.

It was Lexi's first trip alone on a plane. She spent most of the plane ride reading her favorite Marguerite Henry books and reading her pony kid's magazines. Grandma and pop-pop always smelled weird, and the way they smelled was no different when they got off the plane. "You're going to love it here, Lexi, so much you won't want to come home." The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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