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42 pages 1 hour read

Jordan Sonnenblick

After Ever After

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2010

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Symbols & Motifs

Tests

One recurring source of narrative tension is Jeff’s worry about the end-of-year tests he will need to pass to be promoted to the next grade. Jeff’s decision to hide the letter about these tests from his parents conveys his fear and self-doubt. He is particularly afraid that he will not be able to pass the math test, which also symbolizes his difficult relationship with his father (who is very good at math). Significantly, Jeff eventually tries to mend this relationship by asking his father for help with a math problem.

When Jeff’s parents learn about the upcoming tests, their reactions parallel the discourse around disability accommodations. Jeff’s father wants to let him take the test without aid, whereas his mother wants his learning disability to be accommodated:

‘Advocate? Advocate? Is that what you call it? Because I call it “enabling,” as in, “you are enabling your child to remain an infant.” You saw Jeff’s grade on that midterm. He can do this!’

Mom fired right back: […] ‘I’m not saying he should be excused from taking the test—just from being held back if he fails. In education, we call that “protection from adverse consequences.” It’s considered an essential characteristic of a quality learning environment’ (174-75).

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