Paratalk or Torque?

Suzie Eisfelder
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Where I show you a paragraph and talk about it in whatever way I wish. Today’s paragraph is from What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. This was one of my favourites when I was young. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked it up to just check out a little bit and read the entire book.

The main themes of the book seem to be about being good and beautiful. Being good also involves not complaining when sick or in pain. I found this an interesting concept, not one I can stick to though.

“I’m not sure about what I’ll be,” replied Katy, from overhead; “beautiful, of course, and good if I can, only not so good as you, Cecy, because it would be nice to go and ride with the young gentlemen sometimes. And I’d like to have a large house and splendiferous garden, and then you could all come and live with me, and we would play in the garden, and Dorry should have turkey five times a day if he liked. And we’d have a machine to darn the stockings, and another machine to put the bureau drawers in order, and we’d never sew or knit garters, or do anything we didn’t want to. That’s what I’d like to be. But now I’ll tell you what I mean to do.”

Looking at this paragraph today I find it fascinating, a real slice of how children think things will be when they’re adult. The reality is so different to this.

So apparently riding with gentlemen is not being good in small town Burnet, Ohio in the 1860s. How things have changed over time, and not changed. I don’t what it’s currently like in Burnet but there are some places where it’s not okay for girls to go out with boys without a chaperone.

I’ve always been told not to start a sentence with a conjunction such as ‘and’. Apparently it’s not appropriate, or summat. Actually, because they’re joining words, they join one clause to another. And you can’t join something that has an ending without a beginning. But, this paragraph works just fine using ‘and’ to begin a sentence…several times. As does this paragraph I’ve just written where I’ve used both ‘and’ and ‘but’ which also works fine. I find it’s a way to break up extra long sentences and make them sound a little less highbrow and a lot easier to read.

Then there’s all the expectations children have that adulting will be a matter of doing whatever you want and not doing the things you don’t want. Katy says she’ll have a machine to darn stockings and another one to tidy drawers. It’s almost science fiction in that regard, I’ve never heard of a machine that can tidy drawers, I suspect that’s something that can only be done by humans.

In case you want to buy the book and see if the magic works for you here is a link. Funny thing is, the link is still there whether you want to buy the book or not.


    1. My memory is quite old. It might be something we were taught in school. I willfully ignore it quite often, just because.

        1. There are interesting things we’re taught at school which turn out to be different elsewhere. Such as how to write an essay. Totally different at school to uni.

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