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Submitted By chawn
Words 983
Pages 4
By Helen Olajumoke Oyeyemi

Eating disorders are becoming more and more frequent as a result of fashion’s huge expectations of people’s appearances. The praise of the eternal youthful look forces people into the use of extreme methods to obtain this ideal. One of them is eating disorders – particularly anorexia. Even though the fashion industry claims to be without guilt, because - as I once heard a man express in a show about the same theme – (of course I can’t remember the name of the show or the exact words, but it went something like this): models are just hangers, which show the clothes, there’s no reason for young girls to get so worked up over the model’s figure. The only problem is: there is! Many girls dream about becoming a model and they quickly learn if they want to be a model, they have to be thin. Really thin
And the fastest way to become thin is by starving themselves.
Furthermore when girls reach their teen years and the interest in boys and an aspiration to become popular emerge, insecure girls think (because of course it’s nothing like that – at least not everywhere) the only way to obtain those things is by being thin. And sometimes this obsession to achieve a perfect body goes too far. This extremely dark side of being a teenager is portrayed in Helen Olajumoke Oyeyemi’s short story Ellyday. It is about two friends, Sophie and Elly. On a cold Saturday morning Sophie pays Elly a visit to confront her, because she has discovered Elly has anorexia and she wants to help her. Sophie starts up by saying she knows, but Elly pretends she doesn’t know what Sophie is talking about. Sophie notices that Elly is nervous and seems physically weak. Sophie then asks Elly to pull up her jumper, but Elly doesn’t want to because she’s afraid Sophie will get mad. Sophie answers by telling Elly she knows she hasn’t been eating for a long time now, which ends up with Elly defending herself by saying Sophie’s just jealous because Elly is now thinner than her.
Elly breaks down and collapses on the floor, crying. She asks Sophie when it is okay to die. Sophie tells Elly she doesn’t know what to answer. Then Elly finally pulls up her jumper.
This ending is very abrupt. We aren’t told what Sophie sees, but throughout the story she has noticed how thin Elly has become and along with Elly’s question about death, I start to wonder... Maybe Elly is a lot closer to death than you would think at first. Sophie mentions that Elly is so thin it makes her nauseous and Elly asks when it’s okay to die – couldn’t that mean that Elly actually is so thin, she thinks she’s about to die? Which actually makes me feel quite sorry for Sophie because what is she’s supposed to do? How can she help her friend? Sophie seems to be “the dominant one” of the two of them – the bossy one, who always tells Elly what to do (page 8, line 52 – 54). Interpreted from what Elly says ("I was fat. And you were skinny, and that was okay. But now I'm skinny, you don't like it." – page 9, line 81 – 82) it seems as if Sophie is the “more beautiful” of the two, the thin one and on the outside it probably looks a if she doesn’t care about Elly and only “has her around” to look better herself. But as it’s shown in the story Sophie actually cares for Elly – really much – and wants to help her, but has just been so confused and lost about what to do.
And then there is Elly... Elly is this insecure girl, who has become very thin and very weak as a result of her anorexia. Elly knows the anorexia is harmful to her body and knows it can kill her, but she won’t admit she has it – not even to Sophie, who’s her best friend.
This is purely speculation, but it seems to me that Elly is very depressed (maybe she doesn’t think anybody knows how she feels) which has made her indifferent to life. Maybe it doesn’t bother Elly she can die from the eating disorder – maybe she wants to.
So how do you help a person with a problem like that? It’s so difficult to know where the boundaries are. For some people, a push from a friend can be exactly what they need to seek out professional help. For others that push can ruin the friendship. When you are dealing with a person who has such a serious problem as anorexia (for instance) you have to be very careful to what extent you interfere. Because it’s that person’s life - they have the right to make decisions for themselves - but on the other hand, even though it’s tough, you should “crap” at the consequences and do everything you can to get that person to seek help. Your friend might get angry and hate you for a while, but I really think they will be grateful.
Some day...
Because it is very hard to have to accept it if you have a problem of that dimension. You have to realise you have a problem and it’s not very many people who want to do that. And it’s definitely not helping when a friend then begins to push you to admit you have a problem - it is a really painful and shameful situation to be in. Therefore you have to remember to be understanding and caring and always have in mind: how would you like to be approached if you were in a situation like that?…...

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...1) A summary of Ellyday. Ellyday is about two young girls. The one is called Elly and the other girl name is Sophie. It’s all starts one Sunday morning and it is nearly Christmas time. Sophie walks into Ellys room and notice that Elly is very nervous and can’t speak normally and also looks physically weak. Then Sophie says to Elly that she knows, but Elly pretends that she doesn’t know want Sophie is talking about. Sophie tries to get Elly to sit down on the sofa with her, but Elly ignores it and starts looking at her cds instead. She can see that Elly’s hands are shaking. Then Sophie asks Elly to pull up her jumper. Sophie says to Elly that she knows that she hasn’t been eating for a long while now. But Elly says to Sophie that she is just jealous, because she is skinner then Sophie. Elly begins to cry and sits on the floor. Elly asks Sophie when is it okay to die. And Sophie doesn’t know what to say to that, she is choked over Elly’s behaviour. Elly pulls up her jumper and the story ends. 2) Characterize of Elly and Sophie. Elly - Is about 16 years old and properly still live by her parents, as a single child. We don’t hear anything about her family and I don’t think the mother and father take a big interest in her live. Elly has anorexia but she will not allow her self to see that. She is very skinny, pale and almost looks like a match. She is talking about, when it is okay to die with Sophie and that must be a sign of suicidal tendencies, I think. She feels like......

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