Study Guide

My Heartbeat Chapter 4

By Garret Freymann-Weyr

Chapter 4

  • Despite her desire for a fresh start, Ellen is exhausted by the end of the day from smiling at so many people she doesn't know. Her goal is to go mostly unnoticed, which seems like a tiring/ineffective method of high school survival.
  • The problem is that now that she's in the same school as her brother and James, she's getting a lot of attention from the older girls who are interested in the enigmatic boys. They all want her to say "hi" to James and Link for them.
  • Ellen realizes that the guys are pretty standoffish, and that this is why the girls are so desperate for a messenger.
  • Her girlfriends at lunch explain that all the girls are in love with Link and James, but that it's pretty obvious they don't have time for girls. Put in that way, Ellen starts to reframe how she sees her two best friends.
  • Ellen is also desperate to maintain the right grades in order to stay academically obscure. She hates the attention she gets for being Link's little sister (and the expectations that come with that), but she can't do too poorly or her dad will get on her case.
  • Ellen just can't get into Pride and Prejudice, and is worried about disappointing her Dad, so James has her watch the movie instead. They have the Laurence Olivier version, though, which happens to be drier than the novel. Oops.
  • Link goes off to rent a better movie (ah, the days of Blockbuster), and Ellen takes the opportunity to tell James about his appeal to all of the girls at school. When Link gets back they tell him, too, and he thinks it's "gross."
  • Ellen ends up confessing to her dad that she didn't like the characters in Pride and Prejudice because they were too anxious, so he chuckles and gives her Jane Eyre instead; according to him it's romantic drivel with unhappy characters and a happy ending, so he's thinking it's right up her alley. He's totally right, and she loves it.
  • The next day at lunch Ellen is rescued from her gossiping girlfriends by James, who asks her to eat with Link and him. He says he and Link need her more than they do. (Interesting choice of words.)
  • At dinner they are celebrating that Mom landed all five of the jobs she submitted proposals for. Way to go, Mom.
  • Ellen gets caught reading Jane Eyre in French class, but her teacher actually commends her for having interests outside of schoolwork. Not too shabby.
  • Her friend Adena casually starts up conversation and works it back around to Link and James. She says that Ellen's lucky she has such a nice older brother. She also comments on how Link and James are like a couple, which totally blows Ellen's mind.
  • Even though Ellen sees the sense in thinking of them as a couple, she resolves to never ask them. Ever. That'll solve it…