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Written by Nancy C
Cath's protein bars
The protein bars are symbolic of Cath's social anxiety and her reluctance to leave her room. Upon arriving at college she's terrified to go down and eat with the other students; she's unsure of how to make friends and is incredibly afraid of meeting strangers. She eats protein bars in replacement of actual meals so that she doesn't have to go downstairs.
The contrast between Cath and Wren
Cath and Wren's differences are a motif presented multiple times throughout the novel: Cath is introverted and shy, and spends most of her time in her room writing fanfiction and reading, while Wren is much more extroverted and likes to go to parties frequently. Cath also has the better relationship with her father and condemns her mother entirely, while Wren, even though she still has a good relationship with their dad, is more willing to reach out to her mother and try to establish a relationship. The presentation of these differences helps reinforce their relationship- while they may fight over their differences, at the end of the day they're sisters who love each other and are able to overcome them- but it also helps reinforce their characters and the very distinct personalities that they have.
The Carry On fanfiction
Cath's fanfiction is a symbol for her love of writing and fictional worlds, but it also represents how she likes to escape the outside world. She has social anxiety and is very introverted, and her fanfiction represents her desire to escape from a world that makes her uncomfortable to one that she loves. It also represents her love of words, because writing is something that she loves to do, and she's given a ton of time to her fanfiction.
The Outsiders represents the development of Cath and Levi's relationship- while she was previously uncomfortable around him, by the time she reads The Outsiders out loud to him they've become very close and can rely on each other easily. It's also very representative of Cath's adjustment to college, because she's finally made a friend who she can feel comfortable around and have long conversations with.
"There was a boy in her room."
This quote is present at the beginning and end of the novel, and represents the journey that Cath takes throughout her first year of college. While she's anxious and unhappy at the beginning of the year, she becomes considerably more comfortable with herself by the end of the year, and has made friends and become more comfortable with herself as a person. She's also grown as a writer and become more confident academically. Her relationship with her mother has also improved to an extent, even if it's not perfect, and the change she undergoes throughout the book is represented clearly with this quote.
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