Reply To: Exercise 7

Home Forums MASTERING CHARACTER ARCS Exercise 7 Reply To: Exercise 7

Joanna Jelen

Hi Peter,

Thank you for you kind words about the last exercise and greetings from white dunes of Fort Pickens in Florida.

Justyna goal is to get married for green card. Since it’s not easy to find an American citizen willing to commit the fraud nor they advertise their willingness, it’s a big deal when an offer “comes on the market”. Justyna is able to meet three men (at the beginning, middle, and end of book), each of their offer is different and (I hope) shows the heroine’s growth.

1<sup>st</sup> option is the least “emotionless”, one Justyna imagined should be: she pays a fee to the citizen, he gives her green card, they only interact together enough to be able to pass the INS exam, and then they divorce and part. In her opinion, it’s clean, no string attached, it’s like a gentlemen agreement not hurting anybody. She doesn’t care about the fraud part (part of the excuse is that she grew up in a communistic country where citizens didn’t have much respect for the government). Unfortunately for her, the offer is expensive (equals the price of a new Honda Civic), so Justyna can’t afford it. However, it gives me and her the reason to push her for different jobs (where she will meet the hero). Emotions: anger for the high price, disappointment she can’t afford it, acknowledge that the process is not going to be so easy as she thought, desire to work more.

2<sup>nd</sup> offer is $ free but the man wants a foreign wife who would answer to all his wishes and whims, including sex. If he presented his wish list in different way, offered a date, perhaps Justyna would go for it. The man is a rich, successful businessman and quite handsome. She finds him sleazy, though, and doesn’t want to pay for her citizenship with sex. Her emotions: at first, she feels shocked and offended by his openness, later she is thankful for his openness—it made it easier to say no for otherwise great offer. On the other hand, it shows she doesn’t want to sell herself (or she is not desperate enough) and it would be too close to a real marriage and vows with a man she doesn’t love. She still wants to view the whole process as a gentlemen agreement.

3<sup>rd</sup> offer comes from her newer friend, Mark, who helped her with other things before. In many ways, it’s the perfect offer: from a friend she can trust, he doesn’t’ want anything in return, he just wants to help because he genuinely likes her and they work well together (he is the graphic designer who hires Justyna later in the story) Yet, Justyna rejects: for him (to honor his late beloved wife and the memory of their great marriage, and she doesn’t want to involve Mark in fraud) and for herself (she is already in love with Jay and doesn’t want to marry a friend when her heart belongs to another man, even if broken). Emotions: grateful for her friend and his sacrifice, understanding value of true marriage and vows, prioritizing love over fraud—even if her heart is broken, giving up her goal and understanding it was against her beliefs in love and holly matrimony.


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