“Jinxed Emotions” In the short story, Jinx, Aimee Bender focuses on two young girls, Tina and Cathy, who are inseparable. They enter a poster store to discover a very cute boy. One of the girls ends up kissing the boy and the other girl goes home. This act ends up ruining their friendship. Bender carries the reader through the life and mind of these teenage girls. The language in this story presents a sequence of emotions and issues that range from body image, insecurity, betrayal, and jealousy. Both Cathy and Tina consistently critique and judge their own bodies against what the media portrays as normal.
The start of the story, “They were both wearing the hot new pants. ” (178). The two girls keep up with the trends and styles of the time. Cathy in particular, seems to be insecure with how she looks and what she wears. While in the poster store, “…one girl said she wanted to look at the posters one by one, flipping those big plastic lined poster holders, because she liked to stare at her own pace…” (179). She gazed at the “…leather pants women and the leather pants men…” (179) and judged herself against them. Cathy then begins searching for her friend alone. “Cathy, teenager, out on the street alone. This is so rare. This moment is rare.
This teenage girl out on the shopping street alone: rare. ” (179). Normally, teenager girls travel in at least pairs. This seems to offer a sense of security. The previous quotation seems to represent that Cathy has now lost that security and the comfort of her friend being there. She is alone. Cathy feels betrayed by Tina throughout this story. “Cathy walked to the corner. She thought did Tina leave? She thought she’d head back to the poster store but she sat down on a bench instead and when the bus came she just took it. ” (179). Since Tina left Cathy for a boy, Cathy feels that she would rather go home than continue to look for Tina.
While on the bus Cathy thought, “Tina was somewhere left out in the stores and would they miss each other? Did she miss Tina? Oh, probably not. ” (179). Cathy realizes that the friendship they have will change from this point on. It is not as inseparable and endless as she once thought it was. For the rest of the afternoon Cathy sulked. “She sat with her mom, making sure the backyard stayed put, which it did…” (179). Tina was concerned with more important things than staying and continuing to shop with Cathy. Tina was concerned about showing off to other people like she did while kissing the cute boy. “She liked to kiss in public, so that if omeone had a movie camera she could show people. See. ” (179). Cathy was also jealous of Tina’s development and the attention Tina received from the cute boy. The beginning of the story, Tina critics her butt, “one friend had breasts the other was waiting. ” (178). I believe the one who was waiting was Cathy. Towards the end of the story Cathy thinks, “And this was her stop and she got off and walked home, and it was hours too early, they were supposed to be at a movie and when she went inside her mother was sitting there on the couch looking at the backyard. It was like the whole afternoon got a haircut that was too short.
She sat with her mom, making sure the backyard stayed put, which it did, and when her mom fell asleep it all seemed disgusting and this was what happened in the afternoon and she went and looked at herself in the mirror for an hour and felt terrible even though she liked the pose of her left profile the best. ” (179-180). Cathy seems to be jealous and frustrated, which is first demonstrated in the way Bender makes Cathy’s thoughts run on. Bender writes this portion of the story just like Cathy is thinking it. Secondly, Cathy looks in the mirror and critiques herself, completely dissatisfied.
She is wondering why the cute boy chose Tina instead of her. At the end of the story, the girls’ relationship is never the same. Tina calls Cathy and both girls feel awkward saying, “Hello?… Oh. Oh? Hi, Cathy? Tina? Hi? ” (180). Even though, they never truly discuss how they feel. They end up drifting apart. The two girls eventually find new friends and move forward with their lives for the next three years. The story ends by the two girls graduating, they “…said good luck, keep in touch, have a hot summer. Later. ” (180). There was too much resentment on both ends of the spectrum to continue this relationship.
In the end, they obviously cared about one another and remembered the good times they once had. But, they could never have the closeness that they had before. Jinx is a great story, that brings the reader right back to their personal experiences in high school. The whole process that Cathy and Tina went through is part of growing up and discovering themselves. The problems Cathy and Tina faced are those that many young adults encounter. One definition for the word jinx is to cast a spell over someone or something. Cathy and Tina’s friendship was jinxed by body image, insecurity, betrayal and jealousy; which ultimately destroyed it.