The Franklin Meeting

There is a meeting at the end of the school day for all those students interested in working on Chilton’s magazine, The Franklin, previously discussed.

Paris has been chosen as the editor, and plans to use her position to make Rory’s life miserable. She tells Rory the meeting is at 4 pm, but it actually began at 3:15 pm, so that Rory arrives very late (a handy writing technique, so that we don’t see all the boring part of a meeting where everyone introduces themselves and the teacher makes a welcoming speech).

Paris’ evil yet simple scheme of giving the wrong time is one often utilised in film and television, yet would have trouble working in real life. For one thing, the school day ends at 4.05 pm, so the meeting seems to actually take up class time. Wouldn’t Rory have needed permission from a teacher to attend the meeting, and wouldn’t that be a clue it wasn’t after school?

And Rory is so obsessive about schedules and timetables, is it really possible she had no other way of knowing the time of the meeting? There were no flyers on the wall, she couldn’t check with another student, the teacher in charge didn’t mention it? It’s meant to make Paris look like a villain, but in fact it makes Rory look sloppy and careless, or as if she has been so busy learning her new timetable and locker location that she forgot to make a note of the meeting time. At the very least, she’s dopily naïve to trust someone she knows is working against her.

Paris has been chosen as editor, despite being in her junior year, in the first year she is eligible to work on the magazine at all. Wouldn’t a senior year student be chosen as the editor? Or is there a tradition that only juniors work on The Franklin, as seniors have more important things to do? If so, that’s a lot of responsibility to be given when you have no experience. But that seems to be the Chilton way – throw students into the deep end and watch them either sink or swim.

Paris gives Rory the assignment she threatened to as soon as she was named editor – a story on re-paving a parking lot. How she knew such a story would be available four months later is a mystery. If it’s not a coincidence, perhaps she already knew about the re-paving in advance, and had been given a heads-up it would be one of the first stories covered when the new school year began. That she managed to manipulate the situation so that Rory was the only student possible to do the story is a testament to her genius.

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