In Whirligig, how does Jenny change over the course of chapter 8?

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There are nine chapters in the novel Whirligig. Chapter Eight is titled San Diego, California.

As the chapter begins, Jenny is portrayed as a typical fifteen year old teenager. It is her task to make sure that her grandmother is safe while her mother runs errands. Although Jenny loves...

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There are nine chapters in the novel Whirligig. Chapter Eight is titled San Diego, California.

As the chapter begins, Jenny is portrayed as a typical fifteen year old teenager. It is her task to make sure that her grandmother is safe while her mother runs errands. Although Jenny loves her grandmother, she feels emotionally overwhelmed by the responsibility. Her grandmother's cancer is debilitating, and the Holocaust survivor often suffers from nausea as a result of the chemotherapy treatments.

So, when her grandmother asks Jenny to take her for a drive, Jenny is immediately wary, and she panics. After all, she only has a learner's permit, not a license. Also, Jenny is worried that her frail grandmother will not be able to endure a drive in such hot weather. At this point, Jenny, who had been reading Anne Frank's letters before her grandmother called, is skeptical about the wisdom of leaving the house. She is anxious and worries that she will have difficulty maneuvering the old Toyota, a manual.

In all, we get the idea that Jenny is a very conscientious young lady and that she takes her responsibilities towards her grandmother seriously. The text tells us that she has read 'every grisly account of the Holocaust' and that she sent all her birthday money to Simon Wiesenthal's Nazi-hunting group one year. However, her mother thinks that Jenny is too serious and doesn't 'smile enough to attract boys.'

In fact, Jenny is so consumed by the cruel deaths of the Holocaust that she fails to recognize the goodness in the world. Likewise, she is initially so stressed about her grandmother's safety that she fails to fully understand the purpose of the drive.

It is Jenny's grandmother who shows Jenny that happy thoughts can be a strength when one is haunted by dark memories from a gruesome past. When she finally understands and appreciates her grandmother's reasons for seeing Rachel's house, Jacob's store, and the whirligig mounted on the porch wall of the two-story house, Jenny's perspective begins to change. She stops being anxious and begins to see the wisdom of laughter and a hopeful attitude. She begins to understand that her grandmother is preparing to die with her heart at peace with the past. The chapter ends with Jenny and her grandmother sitting quietly as they admire the whirligig. The main change in Jenny is in her perspective and attitudes toward illness, suffering, and life.

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