Rachel is an eleven-year-old girl; the story relays the events of her eleventh birthday, bringing into focus her theories on aging and the ways in which it’s difficult to be young. Despite how perceptive and thoughtful Rachel is, she still lacks the life experience necessary to handle tough situations, which she explains by her wish to be “one hundred and two instead of eleven.” Because she believes people are comprised of all the ages they’ve ever been, she wants to have the experience of someone much older. Her excitement over tonight’s birthday celebration suggests she has a happy home life. However, school appears to be a difficult place for Rachel; she’s aware of (and has experienced) the unequal power dynamic between student and teacher, and she has a somewhat contentious relationship with several of her classmates. When everyone else says the sweater isn’t theirs, Rachel is unable to articulate that it’s not hers, either, and so the sweater winds up on her desk. Intelligent and introspective, Rachel can identify the injustice taking place in her mind, but can’t defend herself out loud. It’s likely that her breakdown near the end of the story is a culmination of frustrations Rachel has experienced in the classroom, possibly even before the beginning of the story. The contrast between her thoughts and her actions—between the firm protests evident in her narrative and the feeble objections she’s able to offer in the moment—suggests Rachel is still learning and growing, and that, in her view, she has not yet reached an age she can call upon to merge the two.