The Friday Everything Changed

The Friday
Plot line
 Exposition
(introduction, setting)
One room school house
Rural North America
Post World War II
Likely 1950s
Plot line
 Complication
Alma Nile’s question: Why can’t the girls
carry the water bucket?
 Conflict:
or initiating incident:
Man vs. Society
Girls vs. Boys on a basic level
Women vs. Society to gain equal rights
Plot line
 Rising
Miss Ralston surprises them by taking the
question seriously
The boys intimidate and beat up the girls
The girls come together in each other’s
Miss Ralston observes but does not
Plot line
 Climax:
Miss Ralston grabs the bat and tells the
pitcher, ‘Come on!’
She has taken up the girls’ fights and wants
to show that girls are just as good as boys,
even in baseball.
Plot Line
 Falling
Miss Ralston hits the ball into the ox pasture
 Dénouement
Two girls are chosen to carry the water,
thereby changing tradition
Miss Ralston sweeps the dust off her desk in
a gesture of satisfaction and pride
Miss Ralston
 Story’s
 Round character
 represents the new ‘modern woman’
Pretty and feminine yet firm and tough
Role model for the girls
Becomes an advocate for the girls (stands
up for them in their fight for equal rights)
Able to compete with the boys
Isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right
 The
boys and girls are mostly flat
Not described in detail
Not identifiable from each other
Not so much ‘individual personalities’ as
they are ‘boys’ and ‘girls’
 National
Geographics… ‘like huge
butterflies folding up their yellow wings’
 As
for Alma… ‘we stuck to her like burrs’
 ‘when…
we’re hanging around the entry
door like a lot of scared chickens’
 Girls
What do you know about those developing
countries they read about in the National
What is one the daily occupation for girls?
Who gets to go to school?
 Miss
fighting to carry water
Ralston’s ball soars into an ox pasture
An ox is usually a castrated male bovine
(not a cow or bull)
The author did NOT choose a ‘wheat field’!
 The
story itself
Fighting for the right to carry the water bucket
represents women’s fight for equal rights
throughout history.
 ‘such
a bombshell’: Alma’s question
 The dancing dust motes
Only visible when the sun shines and otherwise
Miss Ralston is like the sunlight enabling the
girls to be seen and recognized.
the girls can dance and celebrate their rights.
It feels good to help others achieve equality.
Topic and Theme
Topic: Challenging tradition
Directly stated: Equal rights
 The courage, patience and
determination it takes to change any
 Specifically, change for women’s rights
but also generally, for everyone’s rights:
children, LBGT, the poor, mentally ill,
seniors, etc.
 Direct
Author’s description of the character and
how she behaves
 ‘she
was young…she was pretty big…she was
 Indirect
What the reader understands or interprets
by what the character says or does
Indirect characterization
 But
the unusual thing about Miss Ralston
was the way she sometimes stopped in
the middle of a lesson and looked at us as
if we were real people…
 ‘I’ll
think about that,’ she said, -- as if, you
know, she would – ‘and I’ll let you know
next Friday.’

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