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The narrator of “Note to Sixth-Grade Self” gains confidence and strength during the course of her story. The narrator is consistently bullied by Patricia and Cara, the popular girls at school. They turn the entire school against the narrator, leaving her to fend and stick up for herself. She is constantly put in the vulnerable position and no one will help her. Through this, she rises up and gains a new confidence. The narrator realizes the harsh truth of reality, that no one will help her, when the popular girls turn everyone against her. From that, she comes to understand that her vulnerable state will not last forever, making her mentally stronger.
Whilst Patricia and Cara are putting down the narrator, nearly no one is willing to stand up for her. Near the end of the story, Eric, a boy who seemed to be the only person who empathized with her, still would not publicly stand up for the narrator. When Eric generously gifted her with a new dress after her own was ripped by Patricia and Cara, “his expression tells you that despite the dress… things are not going to change at school… He will not take walks with you at recess or sit next to you… You can see he is apologizing for this and you can choose to accept it or not” (90). Eric connects to the narrator and even buys her a gift, showing he really cares about her. Despite this, he does not want to be ostracized by others for being around the narrator. He apologizes for this, and the narrator realizes Eric’s standpoint. With Eric’s choice to not publicly associate with the narrator, the narrator realizes that she is provided with a choice. She can either stay strong and stick up for herself or continue letting the mean girls hurt her even more. The narrator decides to stand tall and resist against her bullies in the future, differing from how hurt she used to feel, showing change.
After the narrator danced with Eric, Cara and Patricia invited the narrator to go to the mall with them. What seemed like a kind gesture to the narrator turned out to be a nasty prank. Upon arriving at the mall, the narrator waits for Patricia and Cara for nearly twenty minutes. She soon realizes the true nature of the event and in turn, tells herself that she is in “Uptown Square with your mother’s credit card. Go to Maison Blanche…” (84). The narrator realizes that there is no way Patricia and Cara are coming and had tricked her. In turn, the narrator decides that she can either sulk about the problem or make the best of it by going shopping and enjoy herself. A few weeks back, the narrator might have broken down and cried, like she almost did at the dance studio, but this time, she decides to take advantage of the situation and turn it into a positive experience. The narrator grew self-confidence and strength as she did not breakdown as she would have previously done, and instead makes the best of it.
Throughout the story, the narrator grows from a timid, submissive person, into someone who is strong and can defend herself. She becomes disappointed by the fact that no one will stand up for her but chooses not to let that put her down. Instead, she begins to stick up for herself instead. She also begins to realize that she must stay strong when Patricia and Cara don’t show up to the mall as planned. Instead of bursting into tears like she might have done before, the narrator makes the best of the situation and enjoys herself at the mall. There is progress of the narrator becoming more confident and emotionally strong as shown with her choices with Eric and Patricia and Cara.
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