Short Skirts & People Problems (Ch. 17-25)

In "The Age of Miracles," chapters 17-25, the days continue to get slower, and the prolonged daylight is having great effects on people and the environment. Julia's mother catches "gravity sickness" which causes her to run over an innocent pedestrian on New Years. This causes a lot of stress for her during the next few chapters. Meanwhile, Gabby decides to run away to Circadia, a place that lives on real-time, to be with a boy she met over the Internet. Also, Seth finally (and mysteriously) retu

In "The Age of Miracles," one important theme from the novel is: Problems are blamed on other unrelated problems as an excuse, even if they would've happened anyways. Julia faces many problems with her family and friends at school, which is all blamed on the slowing. All of her problems, however, are problems people face in current society, so, how much really is the slowing's fault? After Julia discovers that her father is cheating on her mother with Sylvia, she often wonders and blames it on the slowing. In chapter 17, after wondering once again, she states, "But here's where my mother would interrupt me. 'You can't blame everything on the slowing,' she'd say. 'People are responsible for their own actions.'" Julia isn't the only one that blames her problems on the slowing; it’s almost everyone in the book.

Karen Thompson Walker includes many stereotypes in “The Age of Miracles,” and all of them are huge in current society in the real world. The biggest and most obvious stereotype in the novel is that society and the media pressures girls to “grow up too fast” and work hard/pay money (such as with makeup or clothing) to be beautiful and loved. This is greatly shown when Julia focuses too much on wanting a bra that she doesn't need, because of the pressure her classmates put on her for not wearing one. Later in the book, Julia goes to the store and envies a women who can buy makeup, and believes that if she could buy/wear makeup, she would be “more lovely and more loved” (pg 153). The other stereotypes are much less obvious, but are still a huge part of the book. For example, Michaela is the stereotypical popular school girl. She’s skinny, beautiful, flirty, and wears short skirts (Taylor Swift even confirms in her song that short skirts are for popular girls). Then, there is the stereotypical school bully, Daryl, who is intimidating, a troublemaker, and he thinks he’s better than everyone else. Even Julia’s mother follows the “over exaggeration & always anxious mom” stereotype. I believe that Walker put these stereotypes in the novel to show that this is Julia, a young, middle schooler's life, and that she is growing up and having to face problems that a middle schooler would go through. It helps the reader connect to Julia.

The central conflict of the novel is the slowing, which has a huge effect on Julia and her psychological well-being. First of all, the panic and fear from people in the community cause huge changes in society, which causes a lot of stress to Julia and her family. Second, Julia faces drama with friends and family, which is blamed on stress due to the slowing (but from my first paragraph, the slowing might not even be related to it at all), and causes lot's of emotional stress to Julia. There are also physical changes that occur to human behavior and the environment because of slowing. "Studies soon documented an increase in impulsiveness during long daylight periods." This has a huge effect on Julia's wellbeing as well. Plants and animals are dying due to the long days and nights, and radiation is becoming a problem well, which, if continues to increase, could leave Julia (and the rest of the human race) in great physical distress.


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