Scholarship Jacket by Marta Salinas Analysis Essay


In order to build a good story, it’s important to consider the impact of having a good plot, theme, and storyline. Similarly, readers are captivated by stories because they are able to sympathize with the characters involved. This can only occur if the characters are interesting and have intriguing backstories. As a result, there are many aspects to creating a good story. Most importantly, literature as a whole must instruct and delight. 

One of the readings that supports this idea is “Scholarship Jacket'' by Marta Salinas. Not only is it informational, but it’s also a very interesting read. The story begins with a brief description of Martha, who’s about to graduate eighth grade as the valedictorian. She’s offered a scholarship jacket, which recognizes her accomplishments, to wear at the graduation. Although she grew up in a poor family, circumstances caused the school board to take advantage of her by changing the policy and asking her to pay for the jacket. After losing hope, during a talk with her principal, Martha manages to receive the jacket for free. 

One of the main reasons that the reading was a great story was because it was informational. When Martha asks her grandpa to pay for the jacket, her grandpa replies, “Then if you pay for it, Marta, it’s not a scholarship jacket, is it? Tell your principal I will not pay the fifteen dollars” (Salinas 131). Through this quote, it appears that Marta’s grandpa is a very wise man. He educates his granddaughter to not let others take advantage of her. After all those years that the school didn’t ask its valedictorians to pay for their jackets, a sudden change in policy is unfair to Marta. By paying, she is only further falling into the trap set by the school board. The response by Marta’s grandpa is especially informative because it can be applied to the real-world. Many times, companies take advantage of the rampant consumerism that is present in the capitalist market. Through this, many companies and independent individuals charge much higher for their products and services than they should be charging. In particular, I experienced such an incident when my house’s garage door had broken after my dad accidentally collided his car into it while backing up the car. Immediately after, my dad called an independent contractor to fix the garage door. He looked at it very closely and charged $4000 in order to completely repair it. Furthermore, he claimed that if it wasn’t repaired immediately, the door could stop working unexpectedly in as early as 6 months. My dad had a hunch that the contractor was ripping him off and decided not to pay him. Instead, my dad made small adjustments to the door and was satisfied with the result. More than 9 years later, the door is completely functional so I can confidently say that my dad was able to save $4000 because he didn’t allow the contractor to take advantage of his situation. Similar to this, the school board understood the eagerness of Marta in receiving her jacket and took advantage of her situation. Instead of taking an ill-advised act of desperation, her grandpa took the parental role and educated his granddaughter to not make that mistake. As a result, Marta ended up receiving the jacket for free. 

Similarly, another lesson learnt through the reading is to not give up and faith in yourself. Near the end of the book, when Marta is about to leave her principal’s room, he says, “Okay, damn it. We’ll make an exception in your case. I’ll tell the Board, you’ll get your jacket” (Salinas 132). In her mind, Marta thinks, “I could hardly believe it. I spoke in a trembling rush” (Salinas 132). Through this conversation, it’s evident that Marta didn’t believe she was going to receive the jacket and lost hope in her objective. However, her principal’s words came as a miracle that allowed her to fulfill her wish. The lesson learnt is very commonly applicable in the real-world. Many people in the real world sell themselves short and give up very easily. They don’t recognize what they’re truly capable of and are unable to maximize their potential. In fact, there are very few who consistently strived to pursue what they believed in and their passion for their interests usually paid off by becoming vastly successful. The lesson in the story is very important because it inspires readers to pursue their own goals and develop a strong optimism that they can achieve them. 

Apart from the instructional aspect of creating a good story, it must also be a delightful book to read. In the “Scholarship Jacket”, the buildup of the character of Martha allowed readers to empathize with her because she seemed like she really deserved the jacket. Moreover, the twists in the plot, including the ending, kept the story interesting. It developed a great plot supported by a protagonist with a strongly developed character arc. 

Overall, the reading presented many moral lessons that educated readers while keeping the story interesting. By containing both instruction and delight, the “Scholarship Jacket” was a great story to read.

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