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The Selection

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Louise Valerio

on 17 March 2015

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Transcript of The Selection

The Selection
By Kiera Cass

Cast of Characters
Summary
Literary Devices
"The silence was worse than any sound." (pg. 305)
hyperbole/oxymoron: At this point, the absence of noise heightened the fear factor of the situation, as at any moment, the rebels could burst through the door and kill all the girls in the safe room. America exaggerates the silence by comparing it to the contradictory term of sound, as having silence is more frightening than hearing banging or crashing noises from the fray.

"...thirty-five paired heels on the marble stairs was the music of some elegant stampede." (pg. 100)
vivid imagery/metaphor: America compares the sound of the high heels clacking on the solid marble to a stampede of animals, providing imagery of the 35 girls being in a horde walking all at once. Though like a stampede, it's elegant, as in the sound is more pleasant to the ears than that of hoof-beats along a plain, which is what America implies.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is a refreshing story for young teens and adults. It's perfect for those who are new to exploring the prospect of romance, and would like to read a modernistic princess tale told in the voice of a young independent woman facing a competition of love, whilst learning what her heart truly wants. The novel does a great job of displaying realistic relationships and friendships, especially with America and Maxon, who often have friendly conversations, open up their honest feelings to one another, and gradually build up grounds of respect. There are plenty of occasions where America eloquently expresses her ever-changing mood and where the author builds up tone with her diction whilst upbringing the air of sophistication and formality when setting the novel in a lavish castle. The great tension of the story gives it appeal; it runs tight as more and more girls are eliminated from the Selection, and as America becomes more conflicted about who she will chose to love, leaving readers wondering the most about who will remain, and who America will choose. Not to mention that the novel is also an great eye-opener, teaching about the absurdity to value a woman by her level of beauty, rather than by her true "colors," which is what truly matters. The Selection is rated 4 out of 5 stars, and is for anyone who's looking for an elegant, yet twisting storyline, and is willing to be immersed in the fairy tale that it plays out to be.
Important Quotes

Recommendation
America Singer-Selected from Carolina
Prince Maxon Schreave-The Bachelor
Aspen Leger-Ex-boyfriend
Marlee-the best friend
Celeste Newsome-the mean girl
The 35 Selected Girls-Marlee, Ashley Tiny, Kriss, etc.
America's family-Magda, Shalom, May, Gerad, Kenna, Kota
King Clarkson and Queen Amberly
Once upon a time, in the modern fantasy kingdom of Ilea, Prince Maxon Schreave is finally of age to marry. His parents, the King and Queen, uphold the Selection, a competition of 35 girls from different numbered castes to win his hand. America Singer, a violinist from the district Carolina, despises this shallow contest, but her mother pushes her to enter in. However, America already loves a hard-working, sweet boy named Aspen Leger, who is a caste below her. Aspen breaks up with her, ridden with guilt that he couldn't provide for her, while she had already entered the Selection on his wishes and for her family's compensation. Angered, America decides to leave Aspen behind, despite painfully loving him still.
Arriving at the palace, America makes friends with some selected girls, like Marlee, and with her personal maids (she disregards castes). She also makes a couple enemies, especially the spoiled brat from Caste Two, Celeste Newsome. America gets comfortable living in luxury (though it's not home) as the contest wears on, and she finally encounters Prince Maxon. Her relationship with Prince Maxon is rocky at first, based on her image of him being a spoiled, shallow snob, but America soon grew to find him being exceptionally ordinary, awkward, and kind. She begins a friendship with him that blossoms into a complicated affection, as she's still in love with Aspen. Suddenly, to make matters worse, rebels from the South attempt to assassinate the selected girls, all while Aspen is stationed to watch over America as he entered the army draft (which confuses her feelings even more).
After the final rebel attack subsides and the remaining 19 girls are safe, Prince Maxon decides that it's safer to keep the last 6 Elite girls in the contest while the rest go home. America Singer is now an Elite, and has to decide where her heart lies: with Aspen, whom she loves, or with Maxon, whom she adores. But that's in another story, for now.
Vocabulary
"One can never help being born into perfection." (pg. 252)
This quote is summarizes America's and Aspen's situation and the premise of the novel. America can't help that she's beautiful in Aspen's eyes and in the eyes of the Selection. Aspen thinks he's not worthy of her, being a lowly servant while she's a talented violinist. His insecurity about dating America causes him to break up with her, and makes her sign up for a contest which she detests (as she did hoping she wouldn't be selected). America's physical "perfection," also played a key role into this, as the Selection is only opted for girls who are beautiful and capable for being queen of Illea.
1) "...Marlee's manner was so
vivacious
that my smile grew wider." (pg. 81)
definition (adj): lively, animated
Ex: The
vivacious
music blasted from the speakers so that everyone danced wildly at the party.

2) "'Well, I suppose so,' Anne
acquiesced
." (pg. 107)
definition (v): to assent tacitly, agree without protest
Ex: The students
acquiesced
that the test was much too difficult, and that many did not do well.

3)"'I just don't feel like being part of the Selection today,' I answered
curtly.
" (pg. 264)
definition (adv): rudely brief and abruptly said
Ex: "That dress looks so ugly on you," Vicky responded
curtly.

4)"It all felt so
intrusive.
" (pg. 94)
definition (adj): tending or apt to intrude without invitation or welcome
Ex: It would be rather
intrusive
if you were to look at someone's personal photos in their smartphone

5)"The palace was...an
opulent
maze." (pg. 97)
definition (adj):wealthy, affluent, rich
Ex: The
opulent
jewels shone brilliantly on the silver crown.
"'Do you think...that I could still call you dear?'...'Not a chance.'" (pg.130)
This quote indirectly characterizes America as the type of girl who is more self-assured and independent. She doesn't want anyone to address her like she's just a pretty face to be gawked at or complimented, she wants to be addressed for who she is, a human who is obligated social acceptance and individuality.
Important Quotes 2
"[Maxon] was gentlemanly enough, but when he got too close, he became undone. It was like he knew how to treat a lady, he just didn't know how to treat a date." (pg. 183)
This quote perfectly and directly describes Prince Maxon. He's actually awkward, as he's never had much social experience around women, so he doesn't know how to get to know them or what to do when they personally talk to him, at least not under informal circumstances. It makes sense that he's like this, being cooped up without any real friends outside the castle.
"No, I'm not choosing him or you. I'm choosing me." (pg. 325)
This quote is significant in that America finally makes a decision for herself which she can commit to, unlike the promises she's tried to keep before (i.e. forgetting about Aspen). In this, the quote also defines the character development of America in the novel.. Throughout the story, America's conflicted emotions regarding her love interests often left her shrouded in the pains of the past and anxious for the future, up until she decides to finally not anticipate, but wait and allow whatever comes for her, which is demonstrated here. She assures herself that either way she thinks of her situation, whatever will happen
will
happen, so she just needs to accept that and be patient.
Literary Devices 2
Literary Devices 3
Vocabulary 2
Vocabulary 3
Vocabulary 4
America's Penny
"I started to put the jar on a shelf, but I noticed that little penny again...it rattled around...a hollow sound." (pg. 70)
Motif: Many times throughout the book, America stares at the lone penny in the jar, which she kept even in the palace. The penny represents her love that still remained towards Aspen. The last time she saw him, she gave all her pennies that she earned to him, except for the one in the jar. It means that she didn't let him go entirely when they broke up, and she kept the penny as a reminder of what she and Aspen had and why she's stuck in the Selection in the first place.

"Why did everyone think it all came down to beauty? Maybe it did. Maybe Prince Maxon didn't need a wife to speak to, just someone to look pretty." (pg. 75)

"I collapsed in front of a small stone bench...my head resting in my arms on the seat...the tears that came were quiet...How did I get here?" (pg. 113)
Tone: The author's tone for this quote is dramatic. At this point, the author wants us to feel the immense pressure that America felt at this moment, and wanted us to experience her breakdown firsthand. Words like "collapsed" connote defeat, loss, and grief, and her questioning, "How did I get here?" connote confusion, unsureness, and disbelief. It's a highly emotional moment of the novel, since we experience with America all her sadness, making us sympathetic to her situation.

"In my experience, true love is usually the most inconvenient kind. (pg. 188)
Theme: A major theme of the novel, which is coping with the inconveniences of life, and is represented here, when America tells Maxon that he will find true love someday during the Selection, and during Maxon's transition into kinghood. She tells him that there is light in his situation, though it's hidden, which is the inconvenience. This also can parallel to America's problem. America's inconvenience is that she was chosen for a contest she despised, and the boy she loves decided to end their relationship based on his inconvenient lower social status. But America found a bit of light when she befriended Maxon. The novel teaches that life isn't fair and is many times a pain to deal with, but there is always some light in the darkness of ordeals.

Allegory: This quote is allegorical to the beauty standards of women that we have set up in society. In our society, many people judge the value and worth of a woman based on how pretty she looks or how "good" she looks when standing next to a man. This is evidenced by the many advertisements that are made to "beautify" women, and the too few showing women who have good personal qualities. There with the many magazines that praise the beauty of women and judge those who don't own up to society's standards of being thin, pale, and full of makeup. America in this quote is calling out this absurdity, arguing that women have as much value in voice and personality as a man, and are not just dolls who play dress up or are created to satisfy eyes.
6) "And we needed that money so badly at the time, the whole family was
elated."
(pg. 191)
definition (adj): very happy or jubilant
Ex: I was
elated
when I found that my birthday was soon.

7) "Then I thought about the rebels, and how the king was usually quick to point out their
sedition,
but I was supposed to keep this news to myself." (pg. 218)
definition (n): enticement of discontent or rebellion against government
Ex: The Balkans extremely expressed their
sedition
by assassinating the Archduke of Austria.
8) "I smiled to myself at the tired
endearment.
" (pg. 218)
definition (n): the act of tending to make dear or beloved
Ex: The girl cried
endearingly
when she found her lover was okay after the accident.
9) "I didn't realize being the castoff of a future king made you a
commodity.
" (pg. 223)
definition (adj): an article of trade or commerce, something of value
Ex: Rice, corn, and beans were main
commodities
for the small village.

10) "I felt my distaste for him lessen.
Marginally
." (pg. 115)
definition (adj): at the outer or lower limits, minimal, almost insufficient.
Ex: It was
marginally
likely that the rain would stop soon.
11) "Giant tented
pavilions
were set up in the gardens, with food and wine stations scattered about the lawn." (pg. 260)
definition (n): a light open building used for shelter, concerts in a park or a fair
Ex: The
pavilion
was crowded with people enjoying themselves at the Lorde concert.

12) "Then should I leave? The
ambivalence
pulled at my heart." (pg. 278)
definition (n): uncertainty or fluctuation, caused by the inability to make a choice
Ex: Maria felt
ambivalence
towards who she was to marry out of her two best friends.

13) "...but I was sure that came with the
stipulation
that another Christmas might never be as good."
definition (n): condition, command, or agreement of contract
Ex: The Treaty of Versailles had Germany take the blame for initiating World War I as a
stipulation
to ensure future peace.

14) "It was Silvia. She had a little pout on her face that I supposed was meant to be a
consolation.
"
definition (pg. 309): an act of consoling, solace, comfort
Ex: The dad gave his son a teddy bear as
consolation
for his toy plane breaking.

15) "Something about the
tentativeness
of it made me feel beautiful."
definition (n): of the nature as if done on trial, experiment, or attempt
Ex:
Tentatively
, I grind the nose of the skateboard against the rail.
16) "It wasn't that our situation was precarious that we were were living in fear of survival or anything. We weren't
destitute."
(pg. 3)
definition (adj): without means of subsistence; lacking food shelter and clothing
Ex: Those who survived the flood unfortunately lived
destitute
lives.

17) "The families of each participant will be generously
compensated
... for their service to the royal family." (pg. 7)
definition (verb): to recompense; to counter balance; offset, be equivalent to
Ex: The careless driver was to
compensate
for the damages he made when he drove into the front doors of the convenience store.

18) "So here I was expecting at the very best a
cordial
welcome from the girls who were prepared to fight me to the death for someone I didn't want." (pg. 80)
definition (adj): courteous and gracious, friendly, warm
Ex: We were
cordially
invited to attend our friends' wedding in Paris.

19) "...but sometimes even the nicer members of the upper castes were
condescending.
" (pg. 74)
definition (adj): belittling, showing a patronizing descent from dignity or superiority
Ex: He had a
condescending
air about him when he spoke to students; he was the top of the class after all.

20) " Even after the
substantial
greeting party at the airport, the roads leading up to the palace were lined with masses of people calling out their well-wishes." (pg. 87)
definition (adj): of ample or considerate amount, quantity, size, etc., of material nature, tangible
Ex: The
substantial
invitation to Tina's house party confirmed that it was happening.
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