From “Finding a Place”

This assignment was to turn a story we had already written into a excerpt from a novel that served as an example of characterization. You might recognize the story from here.


“I bet I can get through that!”

The scene is a 1943 Brooklyn city sidewalk in the mid-afternoon–a simple part of town where he neighborhood kids all joined together to play their games: baseball, tag, hide-and-go-seek, rover red rover…That’s what the neighborhood boys are playing today. They are the tough guys who decide what game to play. No one had ever stood up to them before, and yet here is this little girl, with her little white dress, and tiny brown shoes, with her mousey brown hair hitting her shoulders. She of all people is standing up, saying she can get through the boys’ human wall. The oldest boy thinks about it. Grouped up with his gang, he challenges her:

“Let her try. She thinks she can, well let’s have her give it a go…she’ll stop bothering us when she sees she can’t do it…”

The other boys join in, calling her over:


Her surprise barely shows through the determination that covered her face. She will break through, she will earn respect, and she will be one of the guys. With her father away fighting against Hitler’s army, and her mother busy working in the factory, she must make a place for herself. She uses her determination as she sprints towards the boys. Using all her strength, she throws herself into their arms, leaping slightly into the air.

She feels their arms strain, just before they give way, slipping apart/

She lands on the other side, free of their grasp. As she turns, she sees the shocked expression on the boys’ faces.

She, of all people, has done it, she has overcome all odds, she has beaten the neighborhood boys. But most importantly, she has achieved greatness, and she has found her place…

Leave me with your ingenious insight:

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