Discussion 2 for Paper 1

Madeline Sonik, in “Cucarachas,” says, “I am aware of nothing, only that the cold night air is hitting my face and my legs are running without pain or exhaustion, running, as if they act reflexively, against my wishes, because they know that I’m completely alive.” What does she mean by “completely alive”?

The writer keeps using the phrase “completely alive,” to highlight the adrenaline of a very dangerous or mysterious situation she finds herself in. In this instance she is once again escaping a situation she doesn’t want to be in, and she seems to enjoy the adrenaline kick.

2. Joan Didion, in “Goodbye to All That,” says, “I was very young in New York, and that at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young anymore.” What is Didion’s opinion New York? (BTW, there are quite a few typos, but I think you’ll be able to read through them.)

It seems as though the author views New York as a surreal dream. A place where she has escaped the reality of Sacramento and had to learn and adapt to a larger place with less people. Didion seems to view her time in New York as a period where she has grown and matured, learned to understand her place and the place she is occupying better. At some points it seems as though she is trying to imply she thinks of her life in different ways and where different decisions could have led her.

3. Susanna Donato, in “Separate Ways,” says, “Instead I gather myself and leap over her, land, and sail on in a moment of ten-year-old glory.” What is the symbolic significance of this line?

The significance is that she had surmounted what was sure to be a very embarrassing moment. She landed a perfect jump and continued skating without stumbling over some random girl and had thereby avoided what was sure to be another feather in her apparent cap of confusion.

4. Jessica Hamilton, in”Auto Mechanics,” “‘Stop!’ I ordered. “‘Dad’s fine. He does this all the time,’ I lied.” What is the significance of lying in this quote?

Hamilton is lying to keep Jennifer calm. While in the subsequent description she remarks on his affinity for an adrenaline kick, it doesn’t make this particular statement any more true, as though he always tows cars from inside rushing rivers and barely makes it back up to breathe.


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