Letters (Draft)

This piece is a complete draft of my letters. It is close to where I want it, I just want to make sure I am clear in expressing my ideas for heroism. I wanted to show a hero as the representation of certain ideals such as confidence, independence, and empathy. These traits can be categorized under the idea of freedom, which is a theme that runs throughout my piece. The narrator does not feel free to make big life decisions, so he makes dumb every day decisions and feels terrible about it. His hero uses her freedom positively, and it inspires him to change. He wants his freedom to matter, so he asks her for advice. She won’t give him direct answers because she wants to preserve his freedom. As they talk, she ceases to be his hero and becomes a listening friend. I hope you can contrast the titles “hero” and “friend” with evidence from this piece, and see what it means for someone to represent an ideal. If these ideas don’t come through very strongly, I am curious to see what you do take away from this writing. What do you think I say effectively?

Voice is also an important piece of this genre. Do I maintain a consistent voice throughout my writing?

I was a hopeless cause today in Algebra. You seemed fine. You’re not always the fastest in math, but you get it done. You sit there, calm when you do it, and you don’t get up from your chair until you have it figured out.

My solution is mostly just letting go. I know I’ll never understand i, or any of the square roots. They are called complex for a reason. I just decided to put my foot down before it could fall down by itself.

Maybe that’s the same thing as giving up. The way I see it, it’s a choice not to kid myself. Instead of struggling through the impossible, I step outside the problem. Today, I spent the last 20 minutes of class wandering the hallways. I don’t think anyone realized I was missing.

 

You noticed. Of course you noticed. First thing when I sat down again in the morning, you asked me about leaving. I claimed I had been sick. You nodded back at me, all concerned, and you looked like you believed me. I promised I was starting to feel better, and you didn’t seem to let it bother you further.

Short comments like that are probably the most I’ve said to you this year. There really isn’t much room for full-fledged conversation while Hanson is lecturing, and his Algebra is the only class period I have with you.

I realize I haven’t said much to anyone else, either. That way I can kind of disappear. There are 1,470 students enrolled at this school, but far less than 2,940 open ears. That is why I feel I need to write my thoughts down. It’s proof I existed here.

 

Some people say school is a prison. Well, it kind of is. None of us choose to go here, and if we leave for too long, the consequences spiral out of control. Spending class making up work only leads to more makeup work, and nobody can ever get ahead that way.

I guess I could always drop out, but that’s only theoretical. I’d have to give up choices later in life, like picking a job or a house. Not like I’ll have much freedom in that. I’ll probably just pick the thing that gives me the most options later on. With jobs, it’s wherever pays the most. For a house, it’s the features. Choosing is like a trap set by the future.

Somehow, you don’t seem trapped. You don’t seem worried by the future at all. Still, you’re ready when the time comes. Always relaxed before a test, you never cram the last moments in like everybody else. Honestly, I’ve never once seen you studying. I think you listen instead.

 

You have a scar running from the bridge of your nose to your eye, and I’ve tried to imagine the story. It isn’t distracting at all. It’s actually very faint. But it’s there, and I’ve never once seen you try to hide it over with makeup.

There’s something in that. You aren’t quick to cover your tracks. Like when Jody was sick for a week and missed all the notes. Hanson made her take the test the day she came back, and she wasn’t ready, so you snuck her the answers. When he caught you doing it, you accepted the 0% he gave you. No excuses.

It must have made him nervous, because he asked you why you did it. I was passing in the hallway and heard. You said you knew Jody was close to failing. If that week pushed her grades over the edge, she would be cut from the basketball team. Her dad was planning to drive in from out of town to see her play that week. It probably meant a lot to her.

You knew you broke school policy. You knew you deserved the failing grade, and kept reminding Mr. Hanson that you weren’t excused in any way. It just helps to understand the situation, you said.

I think understanding would help me too. You never cheat on tests, but because of her, you took the zero. And you knew it was the right thing. For me, it’s never so clear.

 

I heard Jody talking about you. She said you’ve been tutoring her ever since the test. It must be working, because she said you got her grade up to a C. She even seems to focus in class now. It’s like you gave her a bit of determination or something.

I need that. It’s hard to admit, but I really do need to quit sticking my head in the ground. I want to feel like I’m moving, like I’m doing things right. I have an idea that I think I’m going to run by you.

Have you heard about Adler? He’s in our math class, so you probably have. I guess that most nights, he doesn’t eat any supper since his parents are so poor. He sometimes saves part of his lunch in his locker to take home, but otherwise there isn’t much. I was thinking, since our school has to throw away the extra food, I could just take some of it for him each day. Would that be the right thing to do?

 

I talked to you about it today, and you did something I didn’t expect. You didn’t really answer my question. You just turned it back on me. The problem is, I really don’t know if I should steal for Adler. I might not be willing to face the consequences of theft.

So I asked you how you knew you should help Jody cheat. It might have been a little blunt, but I’m new to this. Still, you wouldn’t help me. You said something about making my own choices. If I feel hesitant, then maybe my mind is made up. Or maybe I’m bothering myself about it because I think it’s the right thing. You wouldn’t say.

You told me to talk it out while you listened. I probably talked your ear off. I didn’t even know I had so much to say. I was rambling, mostly. Somehow, you untangled me.

 

I’m not going to go rob the school. I’m going to start sneaking things the other way. My plan is to drop off Aldi cards in his locker about once a week. It won’t cover everything, but it should be a start.

I feel good about this decision. It’s mine to appreciate, I guess. You wouldn’t force me to do it. I think you were careful even to give me your opinion the day we talked. Still, I think you’d agree: it’s a better course of action.

I’ve decided I’m going to try to talk with you more. It’s nice. I get the way I feel when I write to you. All light and washed out, but more completely, I guess. Like there’s proof I have more than existed.