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            The main theme of this novel would be something along the lines of “True beauty is on the inside and not the outside.” And “accept who you are and what you look like, you can’t change it” this is because there are a lot of situations of Terra being very self-conscious of herself, because of her birthmark. And throughout the book you can see that she is getting more and more confident in herself. Jacob has helped her a lot in giving her advice and not caring about what people think when they stare at her. “’Hey,’ Jacob said softly. I shook my head. He placed a gentle hand on mine. Through my haired veil, I glanced at him, unprepared for his look that held so much concern. ‘Don’t let her bother you,’ he said. ‘It’s hard not to,’ I answered him quietly, my hands tight in my lap,” Despite her having that birthmark on her face, throughout the book you can tell how strong she really is, and how beautiful she really is. The fact that she still holds it all together, despite her fractured family, controlling dad, and her anxiety about her birthmark, is true beauty and strength. “Bed, I yearned for my bed. But I halted before the mirror. My face was molting. Tears and nervous sweat had made a mess of my makeup, cutting runoff lines down my cheek.” Yes, she broke down, but she went on staying happy, trying to see the good through the pain. “The awful thing was, I couldn’t stop smiling at him and his cousin, my mouth embalmed in a fake grin. And that’s when it hit me – where I’d seen Erik’s expression before. Why it was so painfully familiar. It was the same expression Dad wore in public with Mom, sheepish and mortified rolled into one uncomfortable mass. The fact was, I was sick of it. Tired of hiding my face. Tired of apologizing for it. So I did what Jacob told me to do. Let them stare. I didn’t even avert my face a single degree.” This quote was right after her break down and yet she’s still strong. And this just shows it.

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The main character, Terra Cooper, was very self-conscious of her birthmark and really worried about people staring at her. She really cared about what people thought. “While my face couldn’t launch a thousand ships, it has the power to make any stranger whip around for a second look. Trust me, this mixture of curiosity and revulsion is nothing Helen of Troy would ever have encountered,” “The door to the coffee shop opened, a cold wind blowing in. An even colder blast of open revulsion from the curly-haired woman who followed reminded me of my cheek. Suddenly, I was aware of it throbbing, no longer frozen from the cold. I swear, the way she continued to stare at me, I wouldn’t have been surprised is she shrieked out loud the way people did back in the medieval times when port-wine stains were thought to be the mark of the devil. Without thinking, I angled my body away from the door, the woman, and Jacob.” This shows that she was indeed self-conscious of her birthmark, but getting more into the book you realize that she’s not as worried as she was in the beginning. Since she met Jacob, she has had an “I don’t care” attitude about people staring at her. “’Hey,’ Jacob said softly. I shook my head. He placed a gentle hand on mine. Through my haired veil, I glanced at him, unprepared for his look that held so much concern. ‘Don’t let her bother you,’ he said. ‘It’s hard not to,’ I answered him quietly, my hands tight in my lap,” She feels a lot better about herself since Jacob, a guy she really admires, accepts her for who she is and how she looks. And he understands her, and never says anything bad about her face.

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 Terra Cooper and Jacob have a lot of common experiences. One would be that they both experience stares from other people. Terra has a port-wine stain birthmark on her right cheek and everyone stares at her. “While my face couldn’t launch a thousand ships, it has the power to make any stranger whip around for a second look. Trust me, this mixture of curiosity and revulsion is nothing Helen of Troy would ever have encountered,” and Jacob has a “cleft” on his upper lip and, of course, everyone stares at him too. “A faint scar stretched from his left nostril to the top side of his upper lip, tugging his mouth higher on one side than the other. It looked like someone has sketched his face fast, the edge of their drawing hand smudging his upper lip. His own eyes dropped to my mouth, completely aware of my stare. I grimaced, forgot I was supposed to be hiding my face, and then embarrassed…” “A couple of women walking down the sidewalk drew imperceptibly closer to each other, sheep in a wolf’s presence, when Jacob passed. If he noticed or cared, he didn’t let on. He sailed to his own longitudinal line, straight through the gawkers with a pleasant nod,” Which this shows that people stare at him, but he doesn’t mind.

Another common experience they share is their problems at home. Terra has a disrespectful, controlling dad, who controls and disrespects her and her whole family. “Dad had translated, ‘Pretty ugly’ and then continued, laughing, ‘like our Terra.’ He might have chuckled, and that laugh may have blunted his words, but it only sharpened his message,” “An hour and a half after I’d set off, I opened the mudroom door to hear Dad already snipping at Mom: ‘Are you sure you need to use all that butter?’”, “’I doubt your doctor would be fine with you eating even one hundredth of that. All you have to do, Lois, is make smart substitutions.’ Like a rattlesnake, her words were swift, precise, deadly. Like now. ‘You wouldn’t be so fat if you’d just use your brains. Cooking right is a matter of being intelligent and resourceful.’” And then there’s Jacob’s family problems. Jacob’s mom is a single mom now. His dad cheated on her with a barista and is now marrying that barista. Their situations aren’t the exact same, but they both suffer from problems in their families.

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 In the book “North of Beautiful” by Justina Chen Headley writes about a teenager, Terra Cooper, and how she tries to get through life day by day, despite her family problems and controlling father. She looks like everyone else, but has an obvious mark on her face from birth. A birthmark on her face, on her right cheek, from above her eyebrow down to her chin.”She’s tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably ‘flawed’ face”, Being a teenager is hard, but this being added to her plate, it makes life for her a lot harder. She’s very self-conscious of it too, having done so many laser treatments and none have worked. “When I turned ten – Dad deemed my face a lost cause. All those laser blasts may have lightened my birthmark a smidge, but that was like measuring the difference in darkness between two and two fifteen in the morning, the ‘improvement’ so imperceptible,” so she feels she has no way of getting rid of this mark. And not to mention, everyone makes fun of her, and everyone stares. As her own boyfriend said, “’Why not fix your face?’ That question yanked out every memory of my being called ugly, each episode a different reference point that made up my map of reality. Like the time when my brother Claudius was studying French in high school and hit upon a term he didn’t understand – jolie laide. Dad had translated, ‘Pretty ugly’ and then continued, laughing, ‘like our Terra.’ He might have chuckled, and that laugh may have blunted his words, but it only sharpened his message,” and her family isn’t very nice either. Her mom supports her on her surgeries, but she also is affected by Terra’s controlling, disrespectful father. He makes fun of Terra and her mother. “An hour and a half after I’d set off, I opened the mudroom door to hear Dad already snipping at Mom: ‘Are you sure you need to use all that butter?’”, “’I doubt your doctor would be fine with you eating even one hundredth of that. All you have to do, Lois, is make smart substitutions.’ Like a rattlesnake, her words were swift, precise, deadly. Like now. ‘You wouldn’t be so fat if you’d just use your brains. Cooking right is a matter of being intelligent and resourceful.’” And then he made fun of Terra, “’You know,’ he mused, ‘I’ve seen run-over deer look better than you,’” but on the way back from another laser treatment, Terra got into an accident and met Jacob. Her boyfriend’s name is Erik, but when she met Jacob, she ended up breaking up with Erik for him. Jacob and her have a lot in common, they both have a birthmark. His is on his upper lip. And so this is what this story is basically about. Terra is trying to move out and away from her family into a college she really wants, and is just trying to get through life despite the stares and comments of her birthmark.

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The author’s purpose of this story is to maybe tell one her personal experiences that she had in her life, and to tell other people because it is a important lesson to learn. And her purpose is to tell you that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you are going to be all those years before it and it is okay! Nobody is perfect and nobody is just one age. This is also to tell you that you may not feel your age every day. “Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is”, the intended audience of this story is basically everyone. Everyone of all ages, because the point of this story is to let readers know that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you never act that exact age all the time.

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One obvious cause and effect is when her teacher Mrs. Price made Rachel wear that old, raggedy sweater (cause). “’Rachel,’ Mrs. Price says. She says it like she’s getting mad. ‘You put that sweater on right now and no more nonsense’”, this made Rachel cry, as it was not her sweater. But the teacher is always correct, right? (effect).  “That’s when everything I’ve been holding in since this morning, since when Mrs. Price put the sweater on my desk, finally lets go, and all of a sudden I’m crying in front of everybody”,  and because of this situation, Rachel wishes she was a lot older; because then she would know exactly what to say (effect). “This is when I wish I wasn’t eleven because all the years inside of me – ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one – are pushing at the back of my eyes when I put one arm through one sleeve of the sweater..”, “Only today I wish I didn’t have only eleven years rattling inside me like pennies in a tin Band-Aid box. Today I wish I was one hundred And two instead of eleven because if I was one hundred and two I’d have known what to say when Mrs. Price about the red sweater on my desk. I would’ve known how to tell her it wasn’t mine instead of just sitting there with that look on my face and nothing coming out of my mouth”, and so because of all this, she wants to be a lot older.

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In the story “Eleven” Sandra Cisneros tells her personal experience with age. Age is just a number; the number does not determine how you act. With every feeling there’s a different age number that goes with it. Cisneros turned age eleven and her teacher made her wear an ugly sweatshirt, even though it was not hers. In these situations, the teacher is always right. Cisneros was so frustrated she started crying in front of everyone, despite her just turning a year older. So, it does not matter how old you are; as you can always cry like a three year old and, you can always be scared like a five year old. “Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay”, On the outside you may look that age, but inside you’re still all those ages before. “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one”,

The author in the article titled “Got homework? Want more?” suggest that students should get less homework because it’s too much pressure and students sacrifice a lot to get it done. The author supports with giving less homework by stating that homework takes away from your family, over burdens children, and limits learning. The author’s purpose is to inform parents, students, and teachers that students need less homework and that homework is pointless as it does little to improve academic achievement. The author reaches the audience by telling how bad homework is and how much pressure it is on students, and also gives appropriate quotes from other students.

Sandra Cisneros in a memoir “Eleven” suggests that with any age, you don’t always act your age. Cisneros supports her suggestion by talking about how you don’t feel a year older after a birthday, and sometimes you just need to be a three year old and cry, or when you’re scared you just need to be five again. The author’s purpose is to influence readers to think about your age and sometimes you can’t act your age, and its okay. It’s okay to cry like a three year old and its okay to be scared like a five year old. Don’t worry about being your age. Cisneros reaches the audience by sharing a personal experience and sharing some advice about acting your age.

The author’s in an article titled “Should students be able to use cell phones in school?” (2007) both suggest that cell phones should be used in school and not be used in school. The author’s both support their suggestions. One supporting suggestion using a personal experience of having a cell phone in class and finding out about September 11th, and that is why they should be allowed, for safety and emergencies and to find a ride home especially if you play a sport. Another supporting suggestion using another personal experience of a cell phone going off in class causing a disruption and that is why they should not be allowed. Both of the authors’ purpose is to state their opinion on if cell phones should be allowed in school and to inform parents, students, and staffs in order for them to make a decision. The authors reach the audience by sharing personal experiences with cell phones in the classroom. Cell phones cause disruptions in class but also can be a great use for safety and emergencies as well as getting a ride home.

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