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Written by Timothy Sexton
Yard ape is Ramona’s nickname for a certain type of boy at school; the ones who “always got the best balls, who were always first on the playground, and who chased their soccer balls through other people’s hopscotch games.” Already at such a tender time in her life as the first day of third grade, Ramona has noticed that entitlement is not just based on gender, but that there are levels within gender. Her keen wit created an equally keen bit of imagery for this unfairness; like with real apes, a hierarchy exists on the school playground and she is attuned to the subtleties of its stratified existence..
The chapter titled “Rainy Sunday” begins with the assertion that such days in November are always dismal, but this particular entry was the most dismal of all. From that point on, the language which the author chooses is precise and persistently committed to creating imagery that testifies to this opinion. The leftovers for lunch are “dreary.” The fireplace log is described as sullen in its refusal to burn. On three different occasions a “cold wind” sweep into the house. The television is blank and mute while Beezus is twice described as “stalking” through the home.
The economic situation of the Quimby is a major point in the narrative and this is conveyed by directly and suggestively through imagery. On the first day of school Mr. Quimby gives Ramona and her sister brand new pink erasers which are treated as gifts rather than just a routine part of the supplies that any family would buy their kids. Ramona, aware that taxes have been discussed in a negative light by her parents, suggests they should just stop paying them. Mrs. Quimby’s objections to spending money on junk food is reason that Ramona had to miss out on the corn chips fad at lunch which has the consequence of her desiring so strongly to not miss out on the boiled egg fad. Which, of course, stimulates much trouble for herself.
The Whopperburger fast food restaurant is almost invested the restorative powers of the site of a miracle through the imagery accompanying the sight of Ramona feasting on her meal. It is at the restaurant as crowded as a healing hot spring that the conflicts which have been eating away at the family are reconciled through the traditional imagery of a family feast. But it is the image of Ramona, especially, that brings all the former tension and anxieties to a close:
“Ramona bit into her hamburger. Bliss. Warm, soft, juicy, tart with relish. Juice dribbled down her chin… The French fries—crisp on the outside, mealy on the inside—tasted better than anything Ramona had ever eaten.”
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Ramona found this rainy Sunday more dismal than most because her parents seemed tired and discouraged, Beezus is moody, and lunch was made up of left-overs. She wanted sunshine, dry sidewalks, rollerskating, and a smiling, happy family.