The novel Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff is mainly about a seventeen year old girl named Jolly, who encounters many difficulties as she has two children from two different, absent fathers. Jolly desperately needs help raising her two children, Jeremy and Jilly, and LaVaughn helps babysit temporarily. LaVaughn is caught up in Jolly’s problems and she guides her on the right path. However, LaVaughn cannot sacrifice her academics to babysit for her because she wants to go to college and she wants to start to build her future. These two main characters take separate paths as they each develop and mature throughout the stages of the novel and they have similarities and differences. Both, Jolly and LaVaughn, illustrate actions that demonstrate the theme of “making lemonade” from the situations they are given.
Jolly flourishes from the person who she was at the start of the book to the person she is now. Before, Jolly did not have her life in order and she couldn’t raise her family with her low-income. In page 7 of the novel, Jolly repetitively states,“I can’t do it all alone”, because she had nobody that supported her or at least gave her advice on parenting, life, etc. Jolly left school three years ago because she was pregnant with Jeremy. According to LaVaughn, she can barely spell and she depends on everyone to help her. For example, when she was filling out the Department of Human Resources application, Jolly states, “Nobody ever tells me. Do you know there ain’t a single person in the whole world I can count on?” (Pg 113). Her apartment is very disorderly and smells and she does not receive any medical benefits. However, things get worse for Jolly when she loses her job at a factory after she got sexually harassed by her boss. She ultimately ends up having no money to pay rent, electricity, food, and LaVaughn’s babysitting. Jolly needed to take a hold in order to give her children a better life and resolve all of her problems.
LaVaughn, on the other hand, is a fourteen year old whose priority is to get good grades in school and to go to college. She wants to go to college in order to move out of her unsafe neighborhood. LaVaughn states, “that’s why the word COLLEGE is in our house... it’s what will get me out of here” (Pg 11). Going to college is very important in her household since she will be the first in her family and in her building to extend her education further. LaVaughn demonstrates her maturity and responsibility when she offers to babysit two sloppy, drippy kids in order to raise money for college. At her babysitting job, LaVaughn grows fond of Jeremy and Jilly although the job isn’t doing her much good because she is “too tired to study and keep her grades up”, according to Myrtle and Annie. She is very diligent, determined, and caring. LaVaughn is looking after Jolly and guiding her on the right path, even though she is way younger.
Although LaVaughn and Jolly have their own characteristics, they share some similarities....