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Initiation Short Story Analysis

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justin chan

on 23 October 2014

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Transcript of Initiation Short Story Analysis

in the short story Initiation, by Sylvia Path, the story told is about a young girl named Millicent and her initiation into a High school sorority and her slow realization of what it really means to her.
The atmosphere for this story is kind of like a very stereotypical highschool setting with the jock, cheerleader, etc, but instead of focusing on those it focuses on the "mean girls" aspect, and about the sorority Millicent is trying to join.
The story takes place in a high school setting and the school iscalled Lansing High. The story starts off in October on a Friday night in Betsy Johnson's basement. The setting also switches over to a drugstore, and a bus for a few important moments.
By Justin Sum
Initiation Short Story Analysis
Dramatic: Millicent initially expects to join the sorority and is quite excited for it, but as the story progresses she actually thinks of not joining the sorority, thinking she couldn't abandon Tracey and if Herb really liked her for who she really is.

Situational Irony: Considering that Millicent is joining a sorority, it would be expected that Millicent would have a stronger social life, in truth its an exclusive club and she can't be associated with "outsiders" like Tracey and many other regular students at Lansing High.
Plot Devices
Stall: After the tension the introduction gives, the story then shifts to Lansing High and starts to provides details about Millicent, plot, and a basic idea of the setting, etc, basically setting up the whole story.

Foreshadowing: When Millicent is at Bev's place and she orders Millicent to do her bed, she starts to feel rebellious, hinting to the readers that the sorority might not work out for Millicent after all.

Point of View
Birds: It symbolizes the individual and the group. the pale gray brown sparrows are the group as they're dull and they're part of the "flock" while the purple heather birds are the Individual because they're are colorful, much more striking, and rare. (Figurative)

Sorority: An association or society of Women.

The Major theme of this story is that of it being an individual or being part of a group. In the story Millicent starts to struggle if her best friend Tracey would be swept to the side if the joins the Sorority, the single thing Millicent has been hoping to join. As the story unfolds, Millicent realizes that she doesn't need a sorority to make friends, and that she can make friends by herself if she just taking an interest and started opening up to people. She also realizes the sorority she has been hoping to join the whole time, in facts impedes her goal because since it acts like such an exclusive group, it alienates and isolates the sorority from everyone else.
The conflict in this story is about Millicent joining the Sorority for friends and popularity, and her slowly turned off by the realities of the sorority and how shallow it is.
The introduction introduces us Millicent, who just went through a "trial" from her exclusive high school sorority. Millicent is very excited about how she is sure to get in and her friend Tracey is quite happy for her, however some events in her initiation makes her start to think about it a little bit deeper.
Initial Conflict
Millicent is also friends with another girl who is already in the sorority, a girl named Louise. She asks Millicent if she could talk to her and she says yes. Louise reveals that girls are picked by vote and those not chosen have been "blackballed" she says girls are also chosen for little things like what socks you wear or what bags one uses. Millicent starts questioning this, asking herself what does this prove at all and if this is just for their own sick amusement.
Millicent goes to a sorority girls house named Bev for more trials. She starts cleaning her room, bring her books to school, all while singing and marching. Millicent was also not allowed to talk to any boys but one boy called Herb was interested in Millicent but knew she was being initiated. (Rising Action)

As another trial begins, Millicent feels sick from being nervous due to having to ask every person on a bus what they had for breakfast. As Millicent asks the last person, he responds with a very strange answer which makes Millicent laugh. Thanks to the eccentric man however Millicent doesn't feel bothered at all by the strange questions she has been asking strangers and realizes you don't need to be part of a group to make friends, you just got to be interested in them and they would open up to you. (Climax)

After the trial passed, Millicent starts talking with a girl named Liane who is also getting Initiated like Millicent. They talk about what it would be like in the sorority. Liane reveals that there is not much to the sorority, they entertain one another once a week at their house and having the prestige to be able to date the popular boys. At this point Millicent wonders if Herb would even be interested in her if she wasn't being initiated, and of her best friend Tracey, if she would just be swept aside. Millcent then realizes what she must do, she decides to decline the sorority and achieve friends, popularity, prestige etc, her own way. (Conclusion)
Characters in this story are both static and dynamic, round and flat.

Millicent: At first Millicent thinks she needs to be in the sorority in order to have friends and be in the "in" crowd, but later realizes she can do all these things all on her own if she just talks to people. (Dynamic)

Tracey: She is a girl who supports Millicent from beginning to end regardless of what she thinks. It is revealed later that she is quite different from most, wearing knee high socks and using an old book bag showing she does not care what others think of her and showing her having a high degree of individualism and self esteem. (round)

Bev: the "toughest" of the sorority girls. She is Millicent's "older sister" and is quite hostile towards her. She never changes the way she treats Millicent and is shown to never to change in the story. (Static)

Louise: She is one of the "nicer" girls of the sorority and she is not given any more depth than that. She is largely identified to be the Nice girl of the sorority club and not much else is revealed about her. (Flat)

The point of view in this story is limited Omniscient because of the story was always in Millicent's Point of View, the main character.

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