Brown Girl Dreaming

Composition Notebook Symbol Analysis

Composition Notebook Symbol Icon

In New York, Jacqueline receives a composition notebook. The smell and sound of the pages and the look of the cover immediately enrapture Jacqueline. As the memoir progresses, Jacqueline learns to write her full name in the composition notebook. She goes on to transcribe audio she hears on the radio or television into the notebook, helping her learn to read. Later, Jacqueline writes original stories and poems in the notebook. Seeing Jacqueline’s relationship to the notebook develop allows the reader to track Jacqueline’s progress as a writer and a storyteller. The notebook also symbolizes Jacqueline’s expansive freedom of imagination, which allows her to escape from the painful aspects of her life.

Composition Notebook Quotes in Brown Girl Dreaming

The Brown Girl Dreaming quotes below all refer to the symbol of Composition Notebook. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nancy Paulsen Books edition of Brown Girl Dreaming published in 2014.
Part 4 Quotes

Words come slow to me
on the page until
I memorize them, reading the same books over
and over, copying
lyrics to songs from records and TV commercials,
the words settling into my brain, into my memory.
Not everyone learns
to read this way— memory taking over when the rest
of the brain stops working,
but I do.

Related Characters: Jacqueline (speaker)
Related Symbols: Composition Notebook
Page Number: 221-222
Explanation and Analysis:
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Composition Notebook Symbol Timeline in Brown Girl Dreaming

The timeline below shows where the symbol Composition Notebook appears in Brown Girl Dreaming. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3: followed the sky’s mirrored constellation to freedom
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
composition notebook . Jacqueline receives a composition notebook. She is enraptured by the look of the cover... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
on paper. Jacqueline writes her full name for the first time in the composition notebook , and it makes her feel like she could write anything. (full context)