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Adolescent Theory And Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages Of Development

1591 words - 6 pages

Life is never easy for anyone, however it is particularly harder during the time of adolescence. The period in which the person is no longer considered a child, but not quite an adult. Erik Erikson had many ideas about this period, and he focuses on the term identity diffusion. Rebecca Fraser-Thill describes this when she writes: “Identity diffusion is one step in the process of finding a sense of self. It refers to a period when an individual does not have an established identity, nor is actively searching for one. In other words, it's a time when a person's identity remains unresolved, yet there is no identity crisis (called an identity moratorium).” (Fraser-Thill, 2011) Erikson was able to carefully acknowledge the intrinsic components of the concept of identity diffusion. James Joyce’s text, The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man can apply to his analysis when Joyce begins to grow up. According to Erik Erikson the four major works of identity diffusion include intimacy, diffusion of time perspective, diffusion of industry and lastly negative identity which also applies to Stephen Dedalus from Joyce’s book.
First of all, Erikson’s description of the part of intimacy in the problem of identity diffusion is clearly outlined and evident in many adolescents such as Dedalus in Joyce’s book. According to John C. Coleman’s text, The Nature of Adolescence he writes: “In the first place there is the problem of intimacy. Here the individual may fear commitment or involvement in close interpersonal relationships because of the possible loss of his or her own identity.” Not being able to decide the type of person that these adolescents want to become harms their ability to get close to another person. Doug Davis expands on this when he writes: “Developing trust is the first task of the ego, and it is never complete. The child will let mother out of sight without anxiety and rage because she has become an inner certainty as well as an outer predictability. The balance of trust with mistrust depends largely on the quality of maternal relationship.” (Davis, 1995) There will never be that sense of trust until these people can move past this stage. Dedalus can be seen in this stage when he has trouble connecting with a woman. Instead, he hires a prostitute to have his first sexual encounter.
Secondly, the topic of the diffusion of time perspective is described throughout Erik Erikson’s classification of identity diffusion and can apply to Joyce’s novel. Kendra Cherry elaborates on this topic when she writes: “As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, teens may begin to feel confused or insecure about themselves and how they fit in to society. As they seek to establish a sense of self, teens may experiment with different roles, activities and behaviors.” (Cherry, 2014) The time these adolescents have spent means nothing to them. Coleman describes this again when he writes: “Here the adolescent finds it impossible to plan for the...

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