Change Through the Chapters

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Do your parents ever make you do things that you really don’t want to? Do you ever feel like they expect too much from you? I recently read Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins. In this story, the main character Jazz is dragged to India for volunteer work that she feels is really not cut out for her.

Jasmine Carol Gardner is in her words, big. She is tall and very muscular, traits that bring her success in shot-throwing.  Jazz would rather be short and petite. Jazz is half Indian but she doesn’t look it. Jazz envies the dark skin of her mother and brother and is self-conscious about the way she looks. Jazz has a knack for business. She is only a sophomore in high school and she is already the co-owner of a highly successful business. Jazz doesn’t feel like she is good at helping others. After hiring a homeless girl to work at her business and then having all of the businesses’ belongings stolen, Jazz avoids the needy. What keeps Jazz going is her longtime friend Steve.  Jazz likes Steve and wishes that they could be more then friends. Jazz works to impress him and make him proud. Although she doesn’t even know it, Jazz’s thoughts and behaviors make it clear that she is a natural at helping others in need.

I think Jazz shows that she truly concerns herself over other people in this passage on page 128. In this part of the story Jazz makes up an excuse to spare herself from helping her new friend Danita who is in need of a person who has knowledge of business. “There I told myself. I did the right thing-Danita will find help somewhere else. There was only one problem. If Danita was the one who needed help, why was I the one who felt like crying?”

The main conflict in the story is within Jazz. She fights herself over helping others and sometimes making mistakes or staying on the safe side. Jazz also worries that her friend Steve is going to find another girl over the summer without ever knowing how Jazz really feels.

On page 146, Jazz reflects again on the way she turned away from her friend Danita’s call for help.  “As I listened to the sitar music, I knew exactly what risk I was being asked to take. I could hear the invitation in my mind, spoken in a soft lifting voice that matched the melody of the music.” Her decision not to help Danita runs through Jazz’s mind often and she wonders what to do about it.

By the end of the story, Jazz starts to change in more ways then one. Her experiences in India surprise her.  Monsoon Summer is a good book for people who are looking for a sweet and low-key read. I really enjoyed reading this book

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