Transcript of "Identical" by Ellen Hopkins English 12
"Identical" by Ellen Hopkins Setting This book takes place in California in Modern times. More specifically, it takes place in a town in the middle of a valley surrounded by lots of brown, dry grass and ranch land. This is a rather wealthy town where everything looks perfect and proper. The family appears to be very "All-American". Raeanne Raeanne is one of the two twin sisters. She takes after her dad; codependent and cowardly. Yet, she sees her dad give her twin sister all the attention, and wants some of her own. She is more rebellious and uses drugs, alcohol, and sex to run away from her problems, never being opposed to washing down a couple OxyContin with some Wild Turkey. Mic and Ty, two boys she is sexually involved with, are her escape no matter how poorly they treat her. On top of all this, Raeanne is bulimic. Kaeleigh Kaeleigh is the other twin sister. She is more like her mother and wishes that she was around more often. Kaeleigh is well behaved for the most part. She receives outstanding grades and is in love with her best friend, Ian. She is very into school and drama, never wanting to let down her parents. Kaeleigh is sexually abused by her father, who tells her that it's their little secret. She later starts to cut herself. The Parents Kay, the mother, is a politician running for congress. Her job keeps her traveling a lot and away from home. This is how she likes it; no husband, no kids, nothing but work. Kay comes home only for the press to make it seem like she has a beautiful, happy family. Raymond, the father, is a strict district-court judge. He can't deal with his wife's absence very well, so he turns to the alcohol and misuse of prescription drugs. Worst of all, he thrusts his very confused love on Kaeleigh, who reminds him so much of his wife. He also tries to have affairs with other women, specifically a younger gal named Hannah. He is not a stranger to sexual abuse though. When he was a little boy, he was babysat by a neighbor who forced him to do inappropriate things with a little girl and be photographed for a magazine for pedophiles. His father didn't know for a long time, and Raymond blames him for it. The Beginning of Conflict The book starts off in this broken family with a lot of problems and secrets. We find out why this family is so torn apart when one of the girls explains the accident that happened years ago. The family got into a car crash while Raymond was driving. They were hit by a one ton truck. In result, there were a lot of scars and breaks. After the accident, Kay didn't love anymore. She was so shaken up by the accident. The reader finds at the end of the book that the crash is extremely significant. More About the Story This story is told from two perspectives: Kaeleigh's and Raeanne's. They alternate, showing how different each life is from the other, yet intertwining from time to time even though the twins don't speak to each other. This book looks deeply into the struggles each girl goes through and the secrets they keep. It shows the effects that dangerous substance can have on someone, the difficulty of having pretty much separated parents, the emotional instability abuse has on a person, and how things that are said and done to a person can cause them to inflict that same pain on their children. Style of Writting Ellen Hopkins, the author, writes many young adult fiction novels. Her topics are often unpleasant but real. Hopkins' books display dark themes that require a mature reader. Hopkins is known for writing books in free verse poetry. In "Identical", some words on a page will sometimes mirror eachother, especially when the point of view is switching from one twin to the other. This is to show how they are still so alike even though they live such different lives. It's to show that the underlying difficulties each sister faces is still present in the other. Theme This book conveys many different meaningful themes. There is one theme that stuck out to me in particular and impacted the story the whole way through. Full transcript
The secrets a person keeps bottled up inside can become their demons and destroy them. Quote "But telling isn't an option. If you tell a secret about someone you don't really know, other people might listen, but decide you're making it up. Even if you happen to know for a fact it's true. If you tell a secret about a friend, other people want to hear all of it, prologue to epilogue. But then they think you're totally messed up for telling it in the first place. They think they can't trust you. And hey, they probably can't. Once a nark, always a nark, you know? (Hopkins, p.6)" Quote "But enough about daddy, who most definitely has plenty of secrets. Secrets mom should know about. Secrets I should tell, but instead tuck away. Because if I tell on him, I'd have to... (Hopkins, p.8P" Quote "Because only by confronting your demons can you ever hope to conqure them. (Hopkins, p.525)" Quote "Even if I tell her every bit of it, there is no guarantee she can fix me. Suicide sounds better and better. (Hopkins p. 543)" A Book With Meaning Throughout the book, secrets are being kept right and left. It's frustrating as a reader because you just want to yell at the characters sometimes. Telling the truth would solve so many problems, would end so much pain, but the characters don't do it. This is reality though. People keep secrets to avoid judgement. People keep secrets to protect others. People keep secrets to avoid facing the truth. But all these can lead to serious pain and suffering. This can constantly be seen in the real world.