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Flight by Alice Hoffman 2000

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Flight by Alice Hoffman 2000

The short story Flight written by Alice Hoffman in 2000 takes place in the suburb called Franconia. The story is focusing on the three main characters: The narrator, the narrator´s older brother, Jason, and Jason's best friend, Eugene. They all three go in high school, but Jason and Eugene are soon graduating and going to study on Harvard. The narrator and Eugene have a special relationship, where they are sharing the same opinions about Franconia. They both want to get away from the town, so they started writing school papers in exchange for money. Jason knows about their little business, but he won't have anything to do with it, because he is focusing on his science project, where he is studying mice's behavior. One night, Eugene forgets that he needs to write a paper, and therefore the narrator ends up writing it all in one night. Next morning, they start fighting over the paper in front of Joey, and the vice-principal catches them and gives them a suspension. Eugene will therefore no longer be able to start on Harvard, so he run away with the money. He left a note for the narrator and his own mother, saying that he will return the money someday. The narrator takes care of Jason´s pet owl. The owl kills Jason's mice and starts losing its feathers.

We don't know the gender of the narrator, but we can assume that he/she is a teenage girl: “It wasn't so much that Eugene and I liked each other, or that there was any possibility of romance between us.” (ll. 2-3), because of the reference about the not-existing-romance between her and Eugene. Her dad left the family some time ago, so she lives alone with her depressed mother, and older brother, Jason: “Not long ago my father had moved out and now my mother barely left her room.” (ll. 32-33). The two siblings go in high school together with their friend Eugene. The narrator despises her hometown Franconia: “It was that we both despised Franconia, the suburb we were both doomed to live.” (ll. 3-4), and she wants to get away. Therefore, she has started a little business together with Eugene, where they sell self-written papers to other students: “Eugene and I were in business together, earning money for our escape from town…” (ll. 12). We can consider the narrator as a clever girl: “So I kept cranking out term papers…” (ll. 26), but she still admires her brother and Eugene: “…he and my brother had done what no one in our town has ever managed before and had gotten into Harvard… (ll. 24-25). Even though she denies her not-existing-feelings for Eugene, we can see that she tends to let Eugene affect her emotionally: “But Eugene was trying to pry my hard work away, and I wouldn't let him…” (ll. 84) and she blames herself for Eugene´s leaving “I guess deep inside I did believe that everything that had happened was my fault.”. Eugene´s leaving affected her, and she starts missing him “I knew to announce my suspension from school, but it wasn't the same as talking to Eugene.” (ll. 118-119). We can question the reason she's taking care of his pet-owl: “I'd be glad to take care of the owl until Eugene returned” (ll. 112). Maybe because it's the closest thing she has from Eugene? and therefore she can't even be in the same room as it “I couldn't even stand to be in the same room as Eugene's horrible pet.” (ll. 117-118).  

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