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“Life After High School”

“Life After High School”

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“Life After High School”

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  1. “Life After High School” By: Joyce Carol Oates

  2. Foreshadowing • Only obvious in hindsight • It gives the readers a sense of understanding after they finish the story Examples: “who had never to anyone’s recollection asked a girl out before” p. 573 “Sunny’s secret vanity must have been what linked them. For several times, gravely, Zachary had said to her, ‘When I’m with you, Sunny, it’s possible for me to believe.’” p. 579

  3. Foreshadowing “Once, Zachary confined in Tobias that he prayed every morning of his life—immediately upon waking he scrambled out of bed, knelt, hid his face in his hands, and prayed. For his sinful soul, for his sinful thoughts, deeds, desires. He lacerated his soul… ‘To get through the day. Doesn’t everyone?’ This melancholy reply, Tobias was never to reveal.” p. 577 “‘Zachary, it’s a free world.’ Zachary said, ‘Oh no it isn’t, Sunny. For some of us, it isn’t.’” p. 578

  4. Shifts in Time • Follows Sunny’s perspective through her life before, during, and after Zachary • Shows transition into dynamic Character • Third person limited point of view carries the story Starts at end of Zachary’s life Goes back to when Zachary’s begins to love Sunny Goes to actual present Goes into future

  5. Metaphor • “he lacerated his soul the way he’d been taught by his mother to tug a fine toothed steel comb through his coarse, oily hair, never less than once a day.” p. 577 • “like a dream voice—felt, but not heard…Face round like a moon…blossom-like clumps fell on the boy’s broad shoulders (snow)…like an impatient child.” p. 581 • Sunny’sname—for her personality and her influence on other people p. 578

  6. Symbols • Choosing golf • Engagement Ring • New unlaced gym shoes & Bible • Plum Colored 1956 Plymouth

  7. Irony • April Fool’s Day note p. 583 • “Yes. But it’s not my fault he’s dead.” p. 584 • “in casting away his young life so recklessly, Zachary Graff had freed her from hers” p. 585

  8. Discussion: Role of Religion • What is the role of religion shown in the story? • His parents are strict • Wanted him to got to Muhlenberg College, which is church related • Sunny’s beliefs – p. 576 • Christian • Moral • All American girl • Zachary’s beliefs p. 577 • Conflicted • Religious doubts, but attends church on regular basis • Tobias (para 40) • Self professed agnostic since 14

  9. Discussion: Role of Religion • How does religion impact the attitudes of the characters? • Sunny is an overall, average, Church girl • Tobias & Zachary – loners, afraid • One of two choices: Tobias comes to terms with himself, Zachary can’t deal with it • How is it seen in the time period? (1960’s) • Raised up in a strict conservative environment • Homosexuality- unheard of • Late 60’s gay rights movement starts

  10. Discussion: Dynamic Characters • Sunny • “That was the final season of her life as ‘Sunny’ Burhman” p. 583 • “She hadn’t been queen of the senior prom. She hadn’t even continued to be a Christian.” p. 584 • Change occurs right after Zachary’s death • Goes from her happy, Sunny self, to Barbara, a strict and sullen person

  11. Discussion: Themes • Insecurities during adolescence result in facades, conformity, and disguised feelings. • People often find out who they really are after they leave that atmosphere of always trying to please people and fit in • Everyone has secrets • Zachary: “The Graffs knew nothing about Sunny Burhman.” p. 579 (one of many things) • Tobias: comes to terms with himself as a playwright • Sunny: hides feelings of impatience, irritation, frustration

  12. Discussion: Themes • Social norms and fear of rejection often lead to a negative self perception and may lead to mental instability in desperation • Reason why Tobias rejected Zachary at the end—was afraid of social norms • The reason why Zachary chose Sunny as a symbol *How is this theme still applicable today?*

  13. Discussion: • What do you think the last line of the story means? “What do you think Zachary planned to do with the clothesline?”