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Read the essay, “Sister” then answer the questions in at the end.


My mother loves to remind me of how much my sister adored me when I was a baby;how my sister would beg to hold me, beg to feed me, and instruct my mother on the ‘right’ way to care for me. However, as much as my mother insists on telling the story my sister adamantly denies it. In my sister’s own words I am the ‘the creature’ that ruined her chances of being an only child, the ‘brat’ that gets all of the attention, and a ‘cry baby’. Despite her often harsh wordsand demeanor she has taught me to see a sister as a teacher, a protector, and an accomplice, though I would never tell her that directly.

Growing up my sister’s knowledge seemed limitless; she breezed through her homework assignments, always spouted little factoids, and even decoded ‘grown-up talk’ to my untrained ears. My sister taught me many things, both good and bad, but my favorite lesson was on cursive. The first time I opened one of her workbooks and saw the curvy scrawl I was fascinated.I remember eagerly pointing to every squiggle and demanding to know what it was, how it waspronounced, and how it sounded when spoken. While my sister was initially amused by my simple-mindedness she eventually grew annoyed with my constant badgering and decided to teach me how to read and write in cursive. Unfortunately my cursive was and still is awful. Despite my terrible writing the fact that my sister took the time to sit with me almost every day after school to show me how to write a new letter or read a new word is a memory that I will always cherish and even though she does not know it her patience and dedication fostered mylove of words.

Another passion I have to thank my sister for is my love of swings. When I was a kid my parents installed a swing set in our backyard, at the time my sister was an independent swingerbut I was still reliant on my parents. I needed them to help me on the swing, to push me on the swing, and even to stop the swing when I wanted to get off. My sister on the other hand hopped on the swing easily, pushed off and was soaring through the air with little effort and no matter how hard I tried to copy her form I never seemed to get it right. To this day I’m not sure if my sister was feeling generous, if our parents had forced her to, or if she pitied me but one day she taught me how to swing. To accommodate for my height my sister told me to tilt the seat forward, to get me going she told me to lean back and forth, and finally to go faster and get higher she taught me to pump my legs in a controlled fashion. The first few times I was unsuccessful but I eventually got the hang of it and soon I was soaring in the air with my sister. No longer under the watchful eyes of my parents I was free to go as high as I wanted and although it seems silly now, my first glimpse over my fenced in backyard on that swing set felt like freedom and it was all thanks to my sister’s teachings.

I am not perfect; in fact, I have several bad habits which include speaking before thinking, arguing for arguments sake, and annoying people for personal enjoyment. As a child these behaviors often resulted in the loss of a friendship and physical altercations with peers and although I probably deserved a good beat-down, my sister jealously guarded her role as my sole tormentor. No matter the consequences of my actions it seemed that my sister was always around to shield me. If my friends ignored me after I said a callous remark my sister would find a way to make up for it and by the end of the day I’d have friends again. Or, if I was challenged to a fightafter running my mouth my sister would immediately jump in to diffuse the situation or take my place in the brawl. Looking back on my younger years I definitely should have been held accountable for my actions but I will forever be grateful for my sister’s protection.

While my sister’s physical protection was helpful, it was her emotional protection that I found truly invaluable. During the end of my parents’ relationship there was a lot of tension in the house, tension so palpable that only the blind couldn’t see it. However growing up I never realized there was so much animosity in their relationship partly because I was so young, but mainly because my sister always provided a timely distraction. Whenever my parents would start to snip at one anther my sister was quick to suggest a game of hide and seek or to remind me of a show that was coming on, she never allowed me to sit and watch as my parents lost themselves in their argument. Although my elder, my sister wasn’t very much older than me during my parents tumultuous relationship, so I can only imagine the burden their fighting placed on herand the stress of trying to keep me happy and ignorant of our crumbling family. Despite the added responsibility my sister was never remise in her protection and it took several years after my parents split for me to realize how bad the situation really was due to my sister’s diligence.

My sister and I had over active imaginations as children. Often we would conspire against our parents separately, but sometimes our ideas were too grand to perform without an accomplice. For example, we once turned our basement into a haunted house and made our parents walk through it. We thought we were so clever tearing up paper, turning off lights, knocking over boxes, and puncturing holes into the insulated walls in order to give the basementa spooky atmosphere. As my parents walked through our haunted house their faces grew more and more grim, my sister and I were sure we had accomplished our goal in frightening them. Much to our surprise they weren’t scared they were angry. My sister and I were forced to clean up everything and reorganize the entire basement over the next few weeks. Unfortunately we didn’t have the material necessary to patch the holes in the wall and ten years later my motherstill complains and gives us the side eye whenever she sees the damage.

Not too long after the basement incident, my sister and I decided that the house was in need of redecorating. Luckily for my mother, we were old enough to know that coloring on the walls was unacceptable; regrettably, we were still young and creative enough to find a way around that rule. Instead of drawing on the walls directly my sister and I decided to glue ourcoloring book pages to them. Our crayons and markers were still being used but they never technically touched the wall so we were sure there would be no consequences for our actions. We were wrong. My sister and I started the redecoration in our bedroom, moved out towards the upstairs hallway, and slowly made our way to the staircase and beyond. By the time my motherawoke from her nap we had gone through almost five coloring books and an entire bottle ofElmer’s glue. Suffice to say there was a lot of wasted paper, soap and water that day as well as a hearty punishment.

Although our mischief tended to be more lighthearted my sister and I were also at that age where we were easily influenced; for example, once after watching an animal right’sdocumentary we had the idea to release Baby Buster Bunny, our pet rabbit, into the wild. The plan was simple: once my mother was distracted we would sneak out of the house and release the bunny into a vacant lot across the street where he could live free. Unfortunately my mother was staked out in the kitchen with a clear view of the front door, undeterred my sister and I decided we would place Baby Buster Bunny in a basket and lower him out of our second story room andinto the backyard. However, not too long into lowering the rabbit to freedom our mother appeared directly below the window and snatched the rabbit out of the basket. In our haste to free the bunny my sister and I forgot that directly below our window was the kitchen which sported a large window of its own through which my mother saw our plan unfold. Despite our protests we were grounded for a week and were restricted to supervised visits with Baby Buster Bunny until the day he ‘ran away from home’.

Although my sister maintains the façade that I ruined her life, she has made my mine better. My sister has been a constant companion through the good and the bad times, she has taught me both essential and nonessential lessons, she has shielded me from the harsh realities of the world, and she has been my partner in crime. The various roles my sister has played, and will continue to play, in my life have shaped me into the person I am today.

1.What is the hook and the thesis of the essay? Name the definitions the author uses to define sister.

2.How many paragraphs does the author use to discuss each definition? Are the definitions equally weighted? Does the author spend the same amount of time and space on each definition?

3.Are all examples solid? Do they do a good job of illustrating what the author means by the definition? Are they consistent for each definition?

4What ultimately is the author saying about sisters? Is there another definition that you can think of that the author didn’t include? If you were to write an essay only defining the things a sister is NOT, how would you define it?


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