Study Guide

Pure Gifts

By Julianna Baggott


If It's Wrapped, Pay Attention

Ever gotten a bad birthday gift from a relative? It's incredibly awkward. You need to pretend you like it (Thanks for the slipper socks, Grandma!), and then you need to use it (Look at this picture of me in my slipper socks, Grandma!), and then you need to find a way to get rid of it without them knowing (My slipper socks? They, um, wore out).

It's a whole ordeal. Well, gifts come up every so often in Pure, and they're not always as great as the Rock'Em Sock'Em Robotswe all wanted as kids. But they're all incredibly important.

The first gift we encounter is the pair of clogs that Pressia's grandfather gives her for her sixteenth birthday. Not only is it ironic that her grandfather is celebrating her sixteenth birthday (the birthday all kids outside the Dome dread), but that she actually uses his gift to save Partridge later on in the story. But when she puts the clogs on:

She doesn't want to be taller. She wants to be small and young. Her grandfather is replacing her old shoes with new ones that seem like they'd never wear out. Does he think they're coming for her soon? Does he think she'll run away in these shoes? (9.28)

Ugh, they're ugly. They make her look ugly. But hey, they might be essential to her survival—thanks, Grandpa! And what about the gift Bradwell gives her?

It's a clipping—the one that she found in Bradwell's footlocker and loved, the one of people wearing glasses with colored lenses in movie theaters […] Is this just some kind of cruel gift? Is he making fun of her? (9.41)

Even though she thinks the gift is a nasty joke, this is actually the first token of Bradwell's love for Pressia—it's a major point of foreshadowing.

Gifts are all over the place; the pen that Ellery gives Partridge, the pin Partridge has to sacrifice, the bell. And trust us, they'll show again—and be uber-important—no matter what. If someone's giving a gift, that's a signpost for the reader that says: Hey, this thing is gonna show up again. So pay attention.