In â€œCalling Homeâ€, by Jean Brandt and â€œAn American Childhoodâ€ by Annie Dillard, both girls are confronted with their sense of conscience and of right and wrong. In the process, both girls experience memorable lessons as a consequence of the decisions they make. In â€œCalling Homeâ€, thirteen year old Jean realizes that her actions not only affect her but more importantly, her loved ones, when she is caught shoplifting and arrested during a Christmas shopping trip with her siblings and grandmother. In â€œAn American Childhoodâ€, seven year old Annie realizes that adults and their feelings are valid and that they can be just as vulnerable and full of tenacity as a child after she and her friend find themselves being chased by a man who is none too amused at being a target of their snowball throwing antics. In both stories, Annie and Jean are smug in their sense of power and control. Both girls exhibit a general lack of respect for authority by justifying their actions and displaying a false sense of entitlement to pursue and attain whatever they wish, as if ordinary rules do not apply to them.
Both girls actions are based on power and acknowledgement amongst their peers: In â€œCalling Homeâ€, the author explains: â€œSnoopy was the latest. If you owned anything with the Peanuts on it, you were â€œinâ€â€ (19). When she steals the pin, Jean feels proud that sheâ€™s outsmarted everybody and that what she has done has gone undetected. Once confronted, Jeanâ€™s false sense of security and disbelief is reflected in the following statements: â€œWhere did this man come from? How did he know? I was so sure no one had seen meâ€¦I couldnâ€™t believe what he was sayingâ€ (Brandt 20). In â€œAn American Childhoodâ€, Annie is proud of her â€œboys armâ€ and of being the only girl accepted by a group of older boys. She exudes confidence in participating with her friends. The author explains: â€œIt was all or nothing...Your fate and your teamâ€™s score depended on your concentration and courage. Nothing girls did could compare with itâ€ (Dillard 22). In contrast to Jeanâ€™s dismay, Annie excitedly describes the surprise of being pursued and the anticipation of being reprimanded: â€œIt was an immense discovery, pounding into my hot head with every sliding, joyous step, that this ordinary adult evidently knew what I thought only children knewâ€ (Dillard 23).
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