The following is in response to Cecilia Woloch’s “How It Works.”
The tension in this flash-prose piece is one that most teenage girls can relate to: that dealing with fathers can be frustrating. I really enjoyed the terse sentences like “Dad’s happy. Pours fresh coffee. What a girl I am. His girl.” These four short sentences say volumes: that the father enjoys spending time with her—and he plans on spending a lot of time with her because he pours some coffee—and you get the sense that the reason why he is forcing her to learn how cars work because he wants to have an excuse to spend this time with her.
What makes the frustration that she goes through with her father unique is that he is teaching her the mechanics of how a car works instead of just teaching her how to drive, therefore the line that really caught my attention illustrates this point: “Dad! The other kids are allowed to drive without understanding solenoids!”
The insight we get from this piece is in the juxtapositions that Woloch makes with cars, humans, and poems. She seems to be saying that they all work the same way—what an inspiring message in such a short piece!