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Reading Response Essay

The September Sisters, by Jillian Cantor, is a story about two sisters, Abigail, the oldest and Becky the youngest. They both fight a lot and make each other’s life miserable, that’s all they do, then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, Abby struggles to cope with her own feeling of guilt and loss. Aby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who with time, discover that love can bloom, even when it’s surrounded by thorns. This is shown by the author with tone, imagery and similes. Abigail feels a sense of guilt through the disappearance of Becky, they would always fight for no reason or for stupid reasons and now that she realizes that she’s gone. She struggles with this deep feeling of sorrow. “I felt this sudden surge of guilt, as if I should’ve heard everything, should’ve heard Becky get out of bed,” page 13.

Throughout the book whole book, the tone is always said as guilt and grief. “Every time I got in the swimming pool or I looked at the inner tube, I thought about Becky swimming toward me, wanting the pink one so bad, I’d feel so guilty, and I’d think, why didn’t I just let her have it? What was the big deal anyway? She could’ve had this one thing; it wouldn’t have been so much to give,” page 296. Jillian Cantor gives us a very strong feeling of sorrow and grief to capture, which tells us the theme throughout the story. There’s also a big amount of similes used to show the theme. “Our house is like a prison, something that sometimes feels like it’s keeping me in, locked away, not keeping other people out,” page 17. Abigail feels trapped with all this situation of her sister missing, rather than feeling protected, its vice-versa.

Another example is, “The kiss was short, and when he pulled back, I could see his breath, like frosting, lighting up the air,” page 189. When Aby uses “frosting,” it’s sweet and good, so Aby describes his presence as sweet air, making her happy, which goes with the theme of innocence of young love. The way Jillian Cantor captures images about what is going on is by giving imagery. “Becky’s hair was straight, dirty blond, and just past her shoulders. She had green eyes and pinkish sunburned skin in the summer. She had dimples. She had some freckles on her nose. She had two-inch scar just above her right elbow, from the time she fell off her bike. She was four feet eight inches tall, and she weighted seventy-three pounds. She was ten years old,” page 28.

The author uses vivid amount of sentences to imagine how Becky looked before she went missing. “ I felt his lips moving over mine, his tongue pushing slowly into my mouth, and it all felt perfectly and warm and so nice,” page 315. Abigail is comfortable with his presence when she’s with him and feels warmth by his side. I certainly picture this scene as it goes. The warmth of love and innocence is captured in this quote. Jillian Cantor really gives out the theme by expressing himself with tone, imagery and similes; even though there’s hard times in life, love always makes its way through, it will be there, through thick and thin. This innocent young love was told in this story with Tommy and Abigail. Abigail struggled with the disappearance of her younger sister but the love that Tommy and her gave each other made love bloom, through this hard situation of her family and her.


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