Annette Sanford's Nobody Listens When I Talk

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Annette Sanford’s “Nobody Listens When I Talk” is a short story about the summer of sixteen-year-old Marilyn and how she spends it all on the swing on her front porch. Throughout the duration of her summer, she busies herself by reminiscing about significant events that had a great effect on her as she strives to grasp who she is growing to be. In relation to figuring out who she is to herself, Marilyn first grasps the ideas that everyone else has about her, particularly how she is perceived as a quiet and introverted person. In this realization she decides to become who she is believed to be and refrains from speaking because she believes no one will listen to her if she does. It is through this time of quiet and thoughtfulness that Marilyn…show more content…
While she may be encompassed by a mind numbing uncertainty about her life, it is the same situation with everyone else, no matter how old or how put together they seem. It is this realization that pushes her away from the ideal person that others want her to be because she sees that the pressure they put on her to be like them is just those around her resisting change. Though she may not see it at first, through time Marilyn understands that her mother telling her to “[sweep] out the garage or [mend] all [her] underwear” is just a push to create a reality around her that is comfortable so that she doesn’t have to deal with the difficulty of growing (Sanford 1026). This situation is recreated with her father, who not only pushes Marilyn to be the picture of a perfect daughter, but also pressures her mother so much that she has given in and he now only “communes with [her] mother’s ghost” (Sanford 1026). He is a sign to Marilyn that pushing people to be what you want will only create a hollow shell of a life that benefits no one, which is why she resists, even her friend whose picture of the perfect life is an enticing one. Nonetheless, in the end, even her friend is living a fake life, running in circles trying to please everyone. Marilyn sees this in the end of the summer when she has moved past the trivial boys and her friend still rages on and tells stories of “ a trumpet player” and his “incredible lip”(Sanford 1028). She perceives that no one has their life together, but she does not use this link to connect to those around her, instead she uses it as another growing tool. To see that she is like everyone else and also that she doesn’t want to be like everyone else is what keeps her on the swing for those months and in her head trying to see past all the conformities that are pushed on her by so many. However, in the end, she recognizes that deciding

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