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on 30 May 2014

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Transcript of Pancakes

Joan Bauer, the author of the short story "Pancakes", explores difficult issues with humor and hope.
Joan has been the recipient of the Judy Lopez Memorial Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Evan Bauer, and her dog, Max, and has one daughter. During her mid 20's she worked for the advertising department of the
Chicago Tribune
, McGraw-Hill, WLS Radio, and
Parade Magazine
. After advertising, she started working for the newspaper. She had moved from journalism to screenwriting when one of the biggest challenges of her life occurred. She was in a serious auto accident which injured her neck and back severely and required neurosurgery, but the love of writing kept her going. Also during this difficult time, she wrote the book
, and learned the importance of laughter.
Jill is a perfectionist teenager who is bothered when anything is out of place and does not understand when Allen Feinman, her ex-boyfriend, called her out for it. Through her experience she learns that when something goes wrong not to freak out, and that it is not the end of the world when anything is out of place.

Joan Bauer uses both direct and indirect characterization for Jill. The adults’ interactions with her reflect her responsible nature, while her own internal thoughts illustrate her driving need to be accepted and liked. There is distinct character development throughout the story, which is clearly shown through the process of Jill going from a rabid perfectionist to being perfectly alright with messes and disorder.

Literary Terms
“Pancakes”, by Joan Bauer, is a short story about Jill, a perfectionist who works at a pancake house. She is extremely orderly and has a specific system for everything. This is something she’s proud of, but as Allen Feinman, her ex-boyfriend who constantly haunts her thoughts put it, she suffers from “rabid perfectionism”. As the story begins, Jill is preparing for work. It’s Sunday morning, and she has to ensure that everything is in order since the owner is out of town and the other waitresses are running late. As the restaurant opens, she is entirely in control. As it gets later, however, more and more people begin arriving and she has to run the restaurant without the other waitresses, and Jill begins to panic. Just as she loses control and her panic hits a climax, Allen Feinman and his family enter the restaurant. To her surprise, Allen and his mother offer to help, and with their assistance, they get the pancake house back under control. In the end, she and Allen agree that they missed each other. Finally, she realizes that the various messes and disorder of the pancake house no longer bother her.
Period 8, Caroline & Lauren

the maple syrup represents everything that goes wrong in the story. The busboy is constantly dripping syrup all over the table, which drives Jill crazy, but by the end of the story the messes no longer bother her.
the condiments represent the various things that Jill feels the need to organize.
the pancakes are symbolic of the good things in Jill's life, even when they cause trouble.
Point of View

The story is written from first-person POV, which adds depth to the story. As a reader, you can see into Jill’s mind and everything she’s hearing, seeing, and thinking, instead of what an outside narrator would have given. Also in the style of the story, there’s a sense of being overwhelmed by many sensations all at once that a reader wouldn’t have gotten from a different perspective.

~Symbolism: examples from the story include maple syrup, condiments, and pancakes.

~Onomatopoeia/other sensory devices: used throughout story, especially as the restaurant becomes more and more hectic.

~Irony: used throughout, specifically when Allen Feinman, who Jill expected to tease her, helped her get the restaurant under control.

~Suspense: Bauer uses shorter, choppier sentences and sentence fragments as the story gets closer to its climax to build up the excitement.

~Foreshadowing: an example is the newspaper article Jill’s mother taped to her mirror; Jill met all six characteristics of a perfectionist.
Full transcript