While Rory and Lane are talking and listening to music, Lorelai comes in to complain that she has to study for a big test on “the Walmart phenomenon” to be held on Friday (it’s a new semester at college, and her classes have changed from Tuesday and Thursday to Friday and some other day: somehow going to night school on Fridays will not clash with Friday night dinners).
Walmart is a multinational retail company which operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores, founded in 1962. It is the world’s largest company by revenue, and the largest employer in the world.
When looking at the “Walmart phenomenon”, a business studies class might examine the profitability of the company and the methods by which they keep prices low, but also how that could impact on the wider community. For example, foreign product sourcing could hurt the US economy, low prices might force smaller stores out of business, and low wages mean that workers often need welfare payments as well to survive, placing further pressure on the economy.
This is the book that Rory is reading in the school cafeteria just before she confront Paris about the the gossip she has been spreading about Lorelai and Max.
New Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by William H. Shurr and others, presents 500 new poems that were found embedded in Emily Dickinson’s correspondence. The book was first published in 1993, and republished in 1999.
This isn’t the textbook that the English Literature class used to study Emily Dickinson, and that assignment is over anyway. It shows that Rory continues to follow up and expand on things she learns at school for her own interest and satisfaction – one sign of an excellent student.
LORELAI: Mr. Medina’s class huh?
RORY: The fancy book owner himself.
LORELAI: How does first annual mother/daughter ditch day sound?
Ditch day (also called skip day) is a tradition in some American schools where the majority of the senior class “ditch” or skip school on one particular day. It’s usually in the spring, at the end of the school semester.
LORELAI: She wants to go to Harvard.
DEAN: She will go to Harvard and if she doesn’t it won’t be because of me.
Dean is right – Rory’s eventual decision not to attend Harvard had nothing to do with him.
RORY: Trig, I can do. But boys and dating? Forget it.
Trigonometry, a branch of mathematics, often included in precalculus courses. A quick reminder to the viewer that Rory isn’t just a bookworm with a talent for writing – she’s an all-round excellent student.
PARIS: You can go somewhere else. Go to Brandeis. Brandeis is nice.
Brandeis University is a private university in the city of Waltham, Massachussetts, just outside Boston. It was founded in 1948 as a secular, non-sectarian, co-educational university, sponsored by the Jewish community.
It has a strong focus on the liberal arts, and promotes tolerance on its campus. About half the student population is Jewish, and Jewish culture is strongly in evidence. It has a reputation (I don’t know how earned or how accurate) for being slightly quirky and accepting of social misfits.
It is amusing that Paris suggests Rory attend a Jewish-sponsored university near Boston while she strives to get into a Christian-sponsored university near Boston. Perhaps Brandeis is a “nice” (i.e. liberal, tolerant, accepting) school that others (staff at Chilton?) have suggested Paris might like to attend if she doesn’t get into Harvard, or even prefer to Harvard, (since she’s a Jewish social misfit), so she turns it back on someone else.
PARIS: Ten generations of Gellers have gone to Harvard. I have to go to Harvard.
According to Paris, the Geller family have been attending Harvard University since the 18th century. This doesn’t seem possible, as the Gellers are Jewish, and at that time Jews weren’t permitted to attend Harvard (and tended to be excluded from higher education, and many other institutions). The first Jewish student at Harvard in 1720 had to convert to Christianity, and still wasn’t really accepted. Even in the twentieth century, there were heavy restrictions on Jews attending Harvard.
It is possible that Paris is lying in a desperate attempt to persuade Rory that she “deserves” to go to Harvard more than Rory does. Of course later on Paris and Rory do attend the same university together.