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A Freshman Experience

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by Jean Webster

Jean Webster (1876-1916) was an American writer and author of many books including Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy.  Her most well-known books feature lively and likeable young girls who come of age intellectually, morally, and socially, but with enough humor, snappy dialogue, and gently biting social commentary to make her books enjoyable to contemporary readers.

This text tells us about young girl Judy. She was brought up in an orphan asylum, where your life was hard. But as she was very clever and bright girl, her guardian sent her to college when she finished school. Judy is very happy because of it, but she knows nothing about her guardian, only that he is a very tall man. That is why she jokingly calls him Daddy Long-Legs. Judy writes him letters, in which she tells him about yourself, your happiness and her new experience.

This text we can divide into some parts.

The first part is introduction, which, in my opinion, consist of only greeting and two sentences: Dear «Daddy Long-Legs,…….College  gets nicer and nicer, I like the girls and the teachers and the classes and the campus  and the things to eat. We have ice-cream twice a week and we never have corn-meal mush.» In this part we learn Judy’s general impression about college.

The second part is a main body, where Judy tells about the trouble with college, her mistakes, about her new knowledge, her «a new unbreakable rule: never to study at night. Instead, I read just plain books» to learn new things about which she never heard earlier. Judy tells with pleasure and gratitude about things, which she bought with the money, which the Daddy Long-Legs sent to her on the Christmas. It is a new for her to receive Christmas presents and she calls the money «five gold pieces», because for her it is very big money, real treasure. The girl never had such big sum of money, so she uses the word «gold» in spite of the fact that, most likely, she never saw the real gold.

The climax begins with «But, Daddy, if you'd been dressed in checked ginghams all your life, you'd understand how I feel. » In this part Judy tells not about her life in college and her good new experience, but about bad period in her life, when she was studying in the high school, about Judy’s fears and about poor box.

Then is conclusion, which begins with « To recapitulate…I am very much obliged for my presents. » There Judy thanks Daddy for presents, for new adventures, which she got thanks to him, and as though she apologizes to Daddy for writing letters to him.

The text (or Judy’s letter) comes to the end with farewell and Judy’s hope, that Daddy Long-Legs is feeling as happy as Judy is.

This text is only small part of the whole book "Daddy Long-Legs", only one letter from the girl, Judy, to her guardian, Daddy Long-Legs. Language in the text is simple, because this letter is written by young girl, who is freshman in the college, and before it she was in the orphan asylum.

As this text is connected with college and education there are a lot of different special words that refer to this topic: College, teachers, classes, campus, freshman, the Middle Ages, English literature, encyclopedia, study, books, dictionary of synonyms, sophomore, geometry, vacation, school…



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