Kelley

The main character of the story is a young American woman named Kelley Ragland (l. 143). Kelley and her parents live in Salinas, California. In the story, she travels from Salinas to Palo Alto (l. 13) to get to Stanford College (l. 6), where she studies Modern American literature (l. 52).

Kelley’s father worked at the water company, but he was laid off (l. 8). To save money, Kelley prefers hitchhiking to taking the bus or train back to college (ll. 7-8). She most likely comes from a low or middle-income family, as we are told that her father and mother had made sacrifices so that she could attend college (ll. 8-10). Kelley also has a cocker spaniel named Daisy (l. 29).

Kelley's inner characterisation is constructed through her language, thoughts, and actions.

We first learn that Kelley always hitchhikes to college but does not tell her parents, as she knows they would not approve (ll. 1-2). Although she lies to them, the story suggests that she has a good relationship with her parents. Her father drives her to the train station (l. 3), and she hitchhikes because she wants to help her parents financially: “she could save over a hundred dollars, which her father could ill afford after being laid off (…) In any case he and Ma had already made quite enough sacrifices to ensure she could attend college” (ll. 7-9 ). This also shows that she is grateful for her parents’ efforts and wants to repay them.

Kelley is an aspiring writer (l. 11), and she looks for inspiration in the stories told by the people she meets while hitchhiking. Her favourite story is about a man who spent a day fishing with President Roosevelt (ll. 16-17).

Kelley’s wish to hear fascinating stories, however, does not prevent her from being cautious. She is aware that some men will try to take advantage of her or put her in dangerous situations, and so she has rules about whom she will not accept a ride from. Although she has str...

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