SOS: Creative Writing
Reader Response # 3
Ranch Girl by Maile Meloy from Contemporary American Short Fiction
The story is told in second person, which gives the reader a sense of being in the story, at the same time being an observer. It begins with telling you where you stand in the socio-economics’ and in the eyes of your peers. “If you’re white, and you’re not rich or poor but somewhere in the middle, it’s hard to have worse luck than be born a girl on the Ranch. It doesn’t matter if your father is the foreman or the rancher – you’re still a ranch girl, and you’ve been dealt a bad hand.” (551) The story goes on, telling you where you where you live on the Ranch, who your father is (the foreman on Ted Haskell’s Running H cattle Ranch) and how you keep your room still decorated from when you were ten. You never have friends over, so you can keep your room that way. You never have friends over because no one wants to come over to a Ranch girl’s house. The second person point of view pangs at the readers emotions. You feel the hunger for attention and flush it creates when Andy Tyler flirts with you. The author re-creates the feelings of a teenage girl, somewhere on the cusp of popularity, in such a way it is almost impossible not to get caught up with the story. I was never a Ranch girl, but when reading the story I felt akin to the feelings of the narrator. The experiences described are vastly different from any of my own child/young adulthood but the universal truths laid out are the same with any person.
The narrator has fallen in love with a boy from the rodeo. She goes and watches him fight every Friday. She s sixteen and the Ranchers daughter, Carla, and her curls they hair into perfect ringlets. Trying to catch Andy’s eye. When he gets up from fighting, he asks her to give him a rainbow and she twirls her rainbow gloved hand around his face. The narrator wants to marry Andy Tyler. The blushing hope of picking out her