by Cynthia Lord

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In Rules, how did Catherine feel when she met Jason and why?

Quick answer:

She feels empathy for Jason and his mother. One of the major themes in Rules is that "anything worth doing is worth doing right." Catherine believes everyone should do their best, especially when they are paid to do a job. In this respect, she is horrified by Jason's behavior at the speech clinic. She draws a picture of him on page 22 and tells her father that Jason looks like she drew him: "He looked just like my drawing! It was scary because I felt like he was angry with me." When the speech therapist, Mrs. Della-Vici, comments about how good a job Catherine did with her picture, Catherine states that she didn'

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Catherine meets Jason on page 20 at the speech clinic. She feels empathy for him because like her brother David, he has autism. Jason can't speak, but he can communicate his feelings by pointing at pictures. Catherine can see he is angry and hopes that he has pictures that can say things like "whatever" when his mother says silly things. Similarly, she doesn't like the way the speech therapist seems to get into Jason's space and second guess what he feels: "Is she kidding? If I were Jason, I would want cards that said: 'Get out of my face!'"

In this respect, she is horrified to think that Jason may be angry that she drew him in her sketchbooks. As she stated at the time, she made sure she didn't stare at him because she knew how much she hated people staring at her brother.

In general, she doesn't make any judgements on Jason's character. She merely observes his behavior and feels very concerned about how he feels, particularly about how he feels about her drawing him.

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