from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
‘Janine, and the Wrong Dress’ is a short episode by Jonnie Comet in the Janine, of Paradise story arc, within the Paradise Two domain of the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm. Edit
The story is notable for receiving as much negative criticism as positive, having been called too short and too long as well as charming and wholesome (as though rated G).
‘Wrong Dress’ was completed by author Comet in early 2012 and published as a Kindle e-text that same year. It was meant to represent a typical day in a Paradisian schoolgirl’s life, including details about classes, teachers, school protocol and culture. It contains interesting detail about the detention hall and procedures at North Eden High School.
The episode appears in the compilation volume Janine, the Terrible Beauty (JOP vol. 2).
Plot highlights Edit
Having received a garnet necklace and a promise from hr boyfriend Charlie Richardson about going steady, Janine Hewlett goes off to school in a pretty pink dress, aware that it may be a bit short as per the school dress guidelines. She survives about half the school day before an administrator stops her on the way to lunch and banishes her to the office till more suitable clothing can be collected from home. Her mother is phoned; when she arrives at school with Janine’s alternative outfit she complains about having to take time off from work to fulfil a ‘stupid rule’ whilst Janine sits weeping in humiliation.
For the afternoon Janine must sit one period’s worth of detention whilst worrying that Charlie, who was to meet her for tea, will give up on her. Naturally she changes back into the pink dress before leaving the building; they meet, have tea, and all is well. Over dinner with her family Janine respectfully asks to have her curfew terms revised, in order to see films with Charlie on school nights.
The whole episode, told from Janine’s first-person point of view, is about Janine’s personal perceptions of her own liberties and of the school rules that attempt to define and curtail them. Though constitutionally modest, conservative and responsible, Janine begins to exhibit a certain rebellion that is part and cause of her association with Charlie, a 5th-form boy whom any already regard as being too old for her. Janine must now face the decision to toe the line and limit her activities to what others consider appropriate for her or to rebel, if only quietly, and to pursue her own ends on her own term, a conflict characteristic of being a young adolescent.
Charlie is seen only briefly, towards the end of the episode, and is seen to be unconditionally encouraging of what Janine wants for herself. The two share banter characterised by subtle double-entendre, which they both enjoy.
Several of Janine’s longtime friends make first appearances here. Patrice Dixon commends her on having secured a steady dating arrangement with Charlie, laying veracity to the near-constant NEHS rumour mill.
Stephanie Maber and Mark Hannigan contribute in Janine’s history-class group assignment. Ava Kane shows her inclination to propriety and prudery by being the first to admit worry that the dress may not survive scrutiny by the school administration.
Joanna Grieg, one of the star students in their form, contributes in Janine’s history class and later commiserates with her about the trouble the dress has caused, calling the dress-code rule ‘rollie stupid’, and encouraging Janine to wear the appealing dress to an upcoming party.
NEHS staff Edit
Mrs Stickle, NEHS dean of girls, is shown to be something of a narrow-minded bully, perhaps appropriate for her role as a disciplinarian, threatening Janine with further detention dates should she continue to plead for mercy. Mr Compton, having the same responsibility for boys, is less astute; he comes out of his office and seeing Janine sitting primly in a chair cannot recognise her as an possible offender at all.
Miss Cartwright makes her first appearance as a sweetnatured office assistant and former student at NEHS prone to easing others’ concerns with gentle condescension, a role she fulfils in subsequent episodes.
As nearly all the settings and characters have to do with NEHS, the story features ample examples of Paradisian slang and habits and values unique to that culture. Some parts of Janine’s class schedule are provided. The NEHS policies concerning detention are well elaborated, providing insight into the overarching philosophy about school discipline in Paradise, which Janine, apparently no stranger to the detention room, now begins to believe overbearing.
An amusing exchange occurs in Janine’s British-history class, in which the students, in four-member discussion groups, are instructed to report on the outcomes of the Civil War; the second-formers’ ideas, if naïve, are all valid.
See also Edit
‘Janine, and the Wrong Dress’, Kindle e-text edition
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