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Task 2

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"The Running Dream"

Do the following tasks, using your own words as far as appropriate.
Describe the atmosphere Jessica and Rosa experience.
Show the narrator's attitude towards running and racing by analyzing the language.
"Going over the finish line must be wonderful […] because it's also the starting line."
Reflect on this quotation. Write a text of about 350 words and count your words.


Extract from: The Running Dream
16-year-old runner Jessica lost her right leg in an accident. She tries to run again with a prosthetic limb.
The air is cool and moist from a light fog - perfect running weather. I breathe in deeply and close my eyes. Something in my mind doesn't know I can't run. Something inside me believes I can just take off.
Sherlock puts down the Frisbee and looks up at me. He's holding his breath. Hoping.
I pick up the Frisbee and say, "Heel."
He falls into place on my left side as we go down our walkway, but he's keyed up, waiting for something big to happen.
When I get to the sidewalk, I turn left instead of our usual right.
I sense his confusion.
His disappointment.
"Fetch!" I tell him, and toss the Frisbee a straigth, controlled distance down the sidewalk.
He tears off after it, and while he's gone, I take a few jogging steps. […]
Through the misty air I hear my name.
It's soft, drifting toward me from the left.
I turn, and it's like I'm thrown into a dream. There's a mermaid fountain in the middle of the yard and, beyond it, a girl sitting on the porch, wrapped in a white blanket.
"Rosa?" I ask.
"Jessica!" she says again.
It takes me a moment to understand that I'm not dreaming. When I do, I clap twice, bringing Sherlock running back to me, and we both head up the walkway. There's a ramp up the side of the porch steps, just like there still is on ours.
"I can't believe you're up so early," I say with a laugh.
"Look who's talking," she says back.
"But … why are you out here?"
"I love mornings," she says. "They're so peaceful." She's got her eye on Sherlock. "He's gorgeous!"
"Sherlock, this is Rosa," I say, making the official introduction. "Say hi."
"Aaarooo!" Sherlock says, wagging his tail.
Rosa reaches out tentatively to pet him.
"He's very friendly," I say, sitting on a bench that's near her wheelchair. "Don't worry." Soon she's hugging Sherlock around his neck, giggling from being slobbered with doggie kisses.
"You were taking him for a walk?" she asks when Sherlock's settled down a little. […]
Then she says, "Tell me about running. Why do you like it?"
No one has ever asked me this so directly before. Either people like running or they don't. Either people get it or they don't. And if they don't, they just think people who like it are crazy.
Which is okay.
That makes us even.
But now I have to explain why I like it, and I'm not sure where to start.
"Uh … running, or racing?"
She thinks, then says, "Running. Like this morning."
"Hm." I try to put my finger on it. "Because it feels like freedom?"
She nods thoughtfully.
"And your mind travels places where it doesn't normally go. …"
"Like dreaming in real time?" I laugh. "Never mind. It sounds crazy."
She laughs too, so I say the next thing that pops into my mind. "I love the morning air on my face - it's one of the best things about running. The rest of your body's warm, but your face is cool." I laugh again. "I totally get why dogs like to stick their head out of car windows.
Running's like that but with fewer bugs in your teeth."
She laughs again, then sighs and says, "I wish I could feel that."
"What?" I kid her. "Your mom won't let you stick your head out of the window while she's driving? What kind of mom do you have?"
"A good one!" Then she says, "Now racing."
"Huh? Oh- what do I like about racing?"
She nods, so I give that some thought and finally tell her, "It's electric. From stepping into your lane until you cross the finish line … every cell of your body is charged."
"Going over the finish line must be wonderful."
I laugh. "Especially if you're the first one there."
"But … it means you finished. You made it. Even if you don't get a medal."
I look at her. "You're very philosophical about the finish line."
She gives a thoughtful nod. "It's symbolic." I nod too, because I'm sure I know what she means, but then she adds, "Because it's also the starting line."
For some reason this thought startles me. And I think about all the races where this is true - the
400, the 800, the 1500, all the relays - and it shocks me that I have never looked at it this way.
Maybe because of staggered starts.
Maybe because starting feels so different from finishing.
At the starting line you're amped, set, coiled. At the finish line you're completely spent.
So the thought that they're the same line gives me a very strange feeling.
A sort of uncomfortable feeling.
Like discovering someone very close to you has been leading a secret double life.
Van Draanen, Wendelin: The Running Dream. New York: Random House 2011, p. 210 - 214.
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"The Running Dream"

$\blacktriangleright$  Describe atmosphere
Zuerst sollst du die Stimmung beschreiben, in der sich Jessica und Rosa befinden. Generell herrscht eine entspannte und friedliche Stimmung bei beiden, wobei Jessica noch eher verträumt und nachdenklich, aber auch defensiv gestimmt zu sein scheint. Rosa befindet sich ebenfalls in einer friedlichen, ruhigen Stimmung, die von philosophischen Einflüssen geprägt ist. Trotz der harmonisch-idyllischen Atmosphäre nehmen sich die beiden nicht allzu ernst, sind guter Laune und lachen auch über diverse Dinge.
The overall atmosphere in the extract from "The Running Dream" is peaceful and rather relaxed. The extract features the persons Jessica and Rosa. Jessica seems to be in a peaceful and relaxed mood at the beginning. She is walking her dog in the early morning and obviously enjoys her surroundings and the crisp and fresh air. She breathes in deeply and closes her eyes to take in her environment. However, her mood shifts throughout the text although the peaceful atmosphere stays as the basis.
Jessica's mood can be described as magical or dreamy from the beginning. She is walking through fog and she hears someone calling her name through misty air as if she were in her own world and outer influences can only vaguely reach her. When she hears her name, she feels like she is thrown into a dream. Furthermore, Jessica explains that to her, running feels like dreaming in real time. This means that Jessica can easily forget and cut out her surroundings.
Matching her dreamy attitude, Jessica is often found to be in a thoughtful mood. When Rosa asks her about why she is running, she simply states that she has never given much thought to it - she isn't even sure why she likes running. Additionally, her mind travels places when she is running, and hence strengthening the aspect of Jessica being dreamy.
Yet, Jessica is not only peaceful. At times, her defensive mood shows, especially when she thinks about how other people see her and her hobby. She feels that people see her as crazy just because she loves running. However, she herself considers her feelings about running as crazy and thinks that people can't really understand her. She mentions the word "crazy" twice which underlines that fact.
The reader doesn't get as much insight on Rosa's mood. Yet, she seems peaceful as well. She enjoys the mornings just like Jessica since they are peaceful. She is wrapped in a white blanket which hints at cozyness and peacefulness as well. Her petting and hugging Jessica's dog makes her appear peaceful and content.
Rosa seems to be a rather thoughtful person. She philosophizes a lot and turns things into abstract ideas - she considers the finish line as a symbol for instance. Furthermore, she understands how Jessica feels about running and wishes that she could feel like that.
Jessica's and Rosa's communication with each other fits the overall relaxed mood. They talk about running in a philosophical way and deeply feel an understanding for the other person. They are both affirmative towards each other which enables them to have such a profound conversation.
Jessica and Rosa
Nevertheless, they can be funny and don't take everything too serious. They laugh a lot and Jessica compares her cool face when running with the face of a dog that likes to stick his head out of the window of a driving car, but with less bugs in her teeth. She further jokes that Rosa's mother wouldn't let her stick her head out of the window. To summarize, Rosa and Jessica are in a very casual and relaxed atmosphere where they can talk freely and without restraint.
$\blacktriangleright$  Show narrator's attitude towards running
In diesem Aufgabenteil sollst du die Einstellung des Erzählers, also Jessicas, zu ihrem Hobby Joggen untersuchen. Beziehe hierfür mit ein, wie Jessica darüber spricht und analysiere ihre Sprache. Belege deine Untersuchung mit Textzitaten.
First of all, Jessica has never really thought about or analyzed her love for running. Only when questioned does she reflect on her hobby or her feelings towards running. So when Rosa asks about her reasons for running, Jessica feels puzzled and confused (l. 39). She has never actually thought about that, because for her running is a thing - for her "either people like running or they don't" (l.35). The anaphora explains that for her, there are only two options and that running is not a matter of thoughtful reflection. This supports the fact that sometimes, you just do things without a reason - you do something out of mere interest for the thing.
Jessica's attitude towards running
After Rosa poses her the questions, Jessica begins to confront herself more seriously with that topic. However, she wants to differentiate running from racing (l. 40). Obviously, the diffence between these two is very important to her. Jessica considers running as a means to feel able to be free and dreaming. Yet, she is insecure about her answers so she uses questions instead: "Because it feels like freedom?" (l. 42). Additionally, the similes "… feels like freedom? (l. 42) and "like dreaming in real time?" (l. 46) underline her insecurity. This means that Jessica isn't sure whether to trust Rosa with her feelings and how Rosa would react on them. So she poses questions instead of really telling Rosa her feelings. Then again, those questions make her more enthusiastic about running and she uses the metaphor "your mind travels places where it doesn't normally go" (l. 44). So she actually feels free when she is running and is not burdened by any thoughts or happenings or feelings.
shift from insecurity to confidence
By Jessica's special use of language, she makes her enjoyment of jogging specifically in the morning pretty clear. She uses the simile "running's like that but with fewer bugs in your teeth" (l. 50) to add a comical comparison. There is an enthusiastic, joyful hint beneath that since dogs seem happy when they stick their head out of the window. For now, Jessica understands why "dogs like to stick their head out of car windows" (l. 49). It is just an overall feeling of the freshness of the morning runs that dazzles her. The antithesis "the rest of your body's warm, but your face is cool" (l. 48) emphasizes that as well.
joy about running
Jessica's attitude towards racing differs quite strongly from her attitude towards running. Whereas running has a peaceful, dream-like connotation, racing is rather competitive and energizing for her. When she is asked about her feelings towards racing, Jessica is more passionate, she likes the feeling of competition and the electricity that flows through her body when racing. This is made clear through the metaphor "every cell of your body is charged" (l. 57). Jessica thinks that reaching the finish line - especially as the first - is a matter of success. That is the reason why she gets confused by Rosa's idea of the finish line being the starting line as well. She has never thought about it because of her different feelings at the starting and the finish line. The contrast "at the starting line you're amped, set, coiled. At the finish line you're completely spent" (l. 68) highlights that. The enumeration "the 400, the 800, the 1500" (l. 65) underlines this as well. It clarifies that she has never looked at it this way, that the only thing that counted for her was the competition.
attitude towards racing
To sum this up, the narrator is very keen on running and racing without having thought clearly about it before. However, running has a specific meaning besides physical exercise for Jessica. Here, she can feel free and is able to let her thoughts run freely. This underlines the idea of being in another world where nothing bothers her, where only she exists and where she is untouchable by external factors.
$\blacktriangleright$  Reflect on quotation
In diesem Aufgabenteil sollst du das folgende Zitat sorgfältig und tiefgehend reflektieren.
"Going over the finish line must be wonderful […] because it's also the starting line.
In the quotation "Going over the finish line must be wonderful […] because it's also the starting line", two things seem to be compared that are actually very different from each other. However, whole new meanings are assigned to both the finish line and the starting line by merely juxtaposing them.
The quotation makes it clear that there is a simple appreciation for the mere existence of a finish line, a clear admiration of the fact that someone can actually reach the finish line. It shimmers through that the finish line is hence a symbol of the achievement of self-defined goals. This does not only count for running, but is also applicable for the personal life. You can put so much energy and determination into reaching a specific goal that just going over the finish line makes you a winner. It doesn't really matter whether you are the first or not, it only matters that you sticked to your plan and that you did not deviate from it.
meaning of the finish line
And yet, when you work towards that goal and you have achieved that goal, then what? What follows the achievement of the goal? Do you just do nothing and are you just satisfied with your past achievement? This is exactly when the starting line joins the game. Sometimes, the running tracks don't go straigt - they are, in fact, a circle. There, the finish line is actually the starting line und everytime you pass it, you get closer to your ultimate goal and you can activate more adrenaline and energy to finally get where you wanted to be. This counts as well for your personal life.
symbolization of starting line
Due to the fact that every time you reach a goal and you set yourself a new goal, you automatically get better - the new goal will be higher than before, it will be a better one, a more fulfilling one. In turn, you get better at what you're doing - you become a more determined person that will reach whatever goals you will set yourself. You are never really done, never really satisfied. However, this does not have any negative effects. It is more an exciting feeling about a new beginning where you can prove yourself over and over again and where you can focus positively on your future.
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