The Pepper Bough

1991 film “My Girl” still tugs at viewer’s heartstrings

Juliana Cruz, Reporter

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How do you think an 11-year old’s life should be? It should be filled with no worries and have people taking care of them, right? “My Girl” is the exact opposite. This movie was released back on November 27, 1991. It’s about an 11-year-old girl named Vada Sultenfuss who faces personal struggles, as a high school kid should deal with. Her only friend dies (Thomas J, who got stung by bees and was allergic), she thinks she killed her mother (dies after giving birth), and she thinks she is in love with her elementary school teacher (Mr. Bixler). A lot of stress is put on this little girl. She also lives in a funeral home because her dad is the owner of it.

Throughout the movie, Vada struggles with understanding the meaning of death and how life works. She’s never really had a mother to guide her. Her father is usually too busy with work to try and explain.

She often goes to the doctors because she says she isn’t feeling well or something hurts. She even says there is a chicken bone stuck in her throat. This is her way of explaining that she feels guilty about her mother. However, it’s really her wanting to express her emotions but she doesn’t know how. She’s still kind of young to really understand why she feels the way she does.

The story continues on and she starts to realize more that she needs to ask questions in order to understand. She finally asks her dad about her mother and he explains to her it’s not her fault. Things like that just happen. Even with Thomas J.

Vada finally feels as if a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. She feels happy and can finally be an 11-year-old kid with no worries. That she finally understands the world a little better. She says she has swallowed her chicken bone and feels better. She learns a little more about what death and life mean. There are some things in life you can’t control. Death is one of them. You just have to learn that it’s not your fault. Especially in cases like Vada’s.


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1991 film “My Girl” still tugs at viewer’s heartstrings