Example Journal Entries: Memoir/Biography The following examples are taken from pages 106-107 of Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, a "true-life novel" about her grandmother. LEFT SIDE (passage identification) RIGHT SIDE (response/analysis) Topic D: use of effective details and metaphor Pages 106-107 Not only was Helen used and abused by "Mr. Wonderful" in Hollywood, but here she is also made to feel worthless by two more men – the priest and Lily's boss, Mr. MacIntosh. It seems like Jeannette Walls really wants us to notice the double standard in Red Lake during the 1920s, where a pregnant woman was a "fallen" woman who was treated nearly like a leper. The priest, Father Cavanaugh, is described as a "gaunt, humorless man whose scowl could peel the paint off a barn." This is severe diction for a man who is supposed to bring comfort and support to his flock! It's also an apt metaphor, since this is a small town where lots of farmers live. The first thing Father Cavanaugh does after noticing Helen is pregnant, when she has fainted in church, is look at her finger to see if she is married. And after she confesses, he tells her that her soul is in "mortal danger," and that the "only place for her in this world" is a home for wayward women. This heartless scorn of a poor woman who is in trouble shows us how unforgiving some could be in a small town during this time period. Her own loving sister was not allowed to take care of her, which gave her no place to go. This passage tells of the unwanted pregnancy of Lily's sister Helen, by the man who had promised to marry her. Lily tries to help Helen and is also shamed by the members of the small town where she is a teacher. In the passage, Walls describes both the priest of Red Lake and the school principal, Mr. MacIntosh, as being men who are very judgmental of Helen for her condition, seeming to blame her alone for getting pregnant. Here is another example of a journal entry for the same passage. YOU MAY NOT USE THE SAME PASSAGE FOR MORE THAN ONE ENTRY, however. Topic B: Real-time scene Pages 106-107 This passage describes the town's reaction to the pregnancy of Helen, Lily's younger sister, who had gone to California to try and make it in show business but who was instead used by a man who promised to marry her and ditched her when she got pregnant. This passage is the crisis moment of the section about Helen, leading to the following scene – the climax where Lily returns home from school to find Helen has committed suicide. The scene where Mr. MacIntosh comes to tell Lily that she needs to make her sister move out is very dramatic, and Walls probably included it to build suspense for the horrible scene that is to come on the next page. Her description of Mr. MacIntosh, wearing his fedora and being nervous, shows that he is very business-like on this visit and uncomfortable with his mission. However, he is clearly determined to force his case on Lily and not give her any chance to defend Helen. Walls heightens the drama in the scene by having Lily remember previous times when she has felt unwanted, and how ironically she was not judged by the townspeople for racing horses or drinking whiskey. They only judge her for showing compassion for her poor sister. The scene ends with a moment that fills the reader with dread: Helen has heard the whole conversation. She's sitting on the bed smoking a cigarette. You just know at this point that things are not going to end well for Helen. This short paragraph foreshadows the climax on the next page, where she realizes she is out of options and hangs herself.