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Given the following from "Her First Ball," “Ours, I think”-Someone bowed, smiled,...

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heetghodasara | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:46 AM via web

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Given the following from "Her First Ball," “Ours, I think”-Someone bowed, smiled, and offered her his arm……“As if I should!” said Leila, tossing her small dark head and sucking her underlip….), examine how Leila is different from the other girls at the ball?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:40 AM (Answer #1)

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The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that Lelia is different from the other girls at the ball with the hesitation displayed in the excerpt.  The reticence featured in "as if I should" is reflective of the uncertainty that Leila experiences.  This is one element in which she is fundamentally different from the other girls at the ball.  The entire notion of this being Leila's "first ball" is representative of how she is different from the other girls.  Leila is caught up in the moment.  She notices the decorations, the vitality, and the atmosphere as someone who has been there for the first time.  It is in this way where she is different from the other girls at the ball.  The fact that she is so enamored with what is happening and then brutally brought down to Earth with the fat man's comment is another way in which Leila is shown to be different than the other girls.  She is more sensitive than others who are there.  In this, Leila displays her differences from those around her.

This fundamental difference is where one holds questions about Leila's life after the ball.  Whether this difference will define her in terms of being able to live her life differently from the other girls at the ball, or merely accentuate a condition that Leila wishes to overcome in order to be like everyone else is part of the ambiguity Mansfield offers at the end of the short story.

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