Names by McCarthy (Book Review Sample)
In the excerpt, "Names," from Mary McCarthy's autobiography, McCarthy writes about "good" names, "bad" names, and ordinary names. This is all within the context of middle school, which is often a very difficult time for young people. What in this excerpt moved you, perplexed you, or angered you? Did any of it stir up memories of your own? Please write at least three paragraphs in response. '
Anna Lyons, Mary Louise Lyons, Mary von Phul, Emilie von Phul, Eugenia McLellan, Maijorie McPhail, Marie-Louise L'Abbé, Mary Danz, Julia Dodge, Mary Fordyce Blake, Janet Preston—these were the names (I can still tell them over like a rosary1) of some of the older girls in the convent: the Virtues and Graces. The virtuous ones wore wide blue or green moire good-conduct ribbons, bandoleer-style,2 across their blue serge uniforms; the beautiful ones wore rouge and powder or at least were reputed to do so. Our class, the eighth grade, wore pink ribbons (I never got one myself) and had names like Patricia ("Pat") Sullivan, Eileen Donohoe, and Joan Kane. We were inelegant even in this respect; the best name we could show, among us, was Phyllis ("Phil") Chatham, who boasted that her father's name, Ralph, was pronounced "Rafe" as in England...
The piece by Mary McCarthy titled the Memories of a catholic girlhood, is a relation of the childhood life that she had in her younger days. It is a recollection of the experiences that she had with her faith in the convent and later lost it (Poore, 1957).
The paper has some good examples of moving stories but the most outstanding one relates to the stained sheets. One of the aspects that come out clearly is the fact that the mothers at the convent did not reason with the sisters. According to the narrator, she had caught her knees during the physical training in the field. When she went to bed later that night, she opened the wound without her knowledge, staining the sheet. When she requested for her sheets to be changed, it stirred a condescending debate with the mother.
According to the mother she was convinced that the narrator was losing blood due to the bodily changes associated with womanhood. Given the fact that the girls at the con...
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