Have you ever wondered why we react, the way we do, in embarrasing or confronting situations?
This is a question I would like to explore in the short text ‘Superman and Paula Browns new snowsuit’ . I believe that the characteristics of the characters cause them to take the actions that they do. Paula Brown and the narrator are both Involved in a situation that expresses and at the same time is caused by their extreme contrast in personalities.
This short text is written in first person by a narrator, reflecting on her childhood, 13 years later. Half way through the story the narrator describes an incedent that occurred during her childhood. She tells us that she was invited to a birthday party of a girl named paula brown, not because they were friends but because, I quote : “it was for all the children on our block”. The first thing that Paula Brown did with the other kids from her block was show off all her presents. Her favourite present being a new snowsuit (pause) powder blue that came in a box from sweden. Embroiderd with pink and white roses, with matching angora beret and angora mittens. This was the outfit Paula was wearing the day of the incident. The narrator was walking home when she was stopped in her path by Paula, asking her to join in on a game of chinese tag. The narrator was enjoying herself playing tag, until a boy named jimmy reached out to tag paula brown and paula fell into an oil slick, smearing her brand new, favourite snowsuit. Now its hard for us to really know whos fault the fall was, as it is written from the narrators perspective and we do not know the other sides to this story. But what we are told is that the narrator was faulsly accused of pushing paula brown. I believe that this incident shows us how upbringing and personalities play a big role in how people deal with certain situations immediately after they occur.
When the narrator first mentions Paula brown we straight away have a clear image of the type of girls she is. Words like “spoilt” or “disliked” might come to mind, as the author describes her as “bossy and stuck up”. We get the impression that she is some what an outsider, as we know that everyone on her block was invited to her birthday party rather than her friends. The narrator also mentions that “no one really likes her”. We are aware that Paula brown is upper class and very spoilt by her parents, due to her many extravagant gifts, and for example being able to afford taking so many kids to the cinemas would have been very expensive in this era. So some words that come to mind to describe Paula Brown would be : Materialistic, Rich, Stuck up, bossy and struggles to fit in. Now in contrast, we have our narrator. She doesn’t seem to have the closest, most effectionate relationship with her mum, so she is definitely not spoilt. She is very proud and likes to be percieved as strong. She is very imaganitive and often day dreams. She has a friend , named David Sterling, who she would hang out with at school, playing superman games. These are a few things we know about the narrator, but these aspects of her personality are strongly emphasised, during and after the incident of Paula browns new snowsuit.
When Paula brown first falls, the narrator describes her looking at all the children standing around her. She says : “ she sat up and looked at us standing around her, as if searching for something.” Paula then goes on to accusing the narrator of pushing her. “you, you pushed me” she says. Paula immediately accusing someone else, to me is a sign of embarrasment. As I mentioned earlier paula is not the most liked. If she had…