Thirteen: The Age of Adolescence
Adolescence is the stage in life when you are no longer a child, but not yet an adult. There are many things that still need to be explored, learned and conquered. In the film Thirteen, the main character, Tracy Freeland, is just entering adolescence. While trying to conquer Erikson’s theory of Identity vs. Role confusion, Tracy is affected by many influences, including family and friends that hinder her development. Many concepts from what we have learned in class can be applied to this character from identity development, to depression, to adolescent sexuality and more. In this film Tracy is a prime example of an adolescent and much of what I have learned this year can be applied to her character.
“Fitting in” is a concept that is seen a lot in adolescence. Teenagers will do pretty much anything at times to have friends or appear to be “cool.” That is exactly what happens to Tracy in this film. As the film begins, Tracy is a good, simple girl, and her pureness all changes when she befriends the most popular girl in school, Evie Zamora. Evie is very rebellious. She does not have a strong authority figure in her life (Levy-Hinte, London, & Hardwicke, 2003). The sweet, innocent young Tracy is soon to be completely transformed. Evie is vividly a bad influence on Tracy from the beginning, as seen when she influences Tracy to steal something the first time they hang out together (Levy-Hinte, et al., 2003). Stealing is illegal and considered a minor crime and turns Tracy into a delinquent (Berk, 2011). Tracy’s identity development is heavily influenced by her new friendship with Evie from that moment on. Evie is so popular, but she makes very poor choices and Tracy follows her lead because she wants to seem just as “cool” as her new companion. This is a type of peer pressure that affects many teenagers daily. Evie exposes Tracy to a whole new world, and it is not long after this friendship begins that Tracy begins to experiment with illegal drugs. This experimentation includes taking acid, huffing, drinking alcohol and doing many other terrible drugs (Levy-Hinte, et al., 2003). Tracy getting into drugs is not a far stretch from what we have learned in class, and that is that “drug use rises steadily over adolescence” (Berk, 2011). Evie, being as popular as she is, introduces Tracy to a lot of boys, something she was not used to before. Evie has a lot of experience sexually with boys, and Tracy follows her lead pretty quickly (Levy-Hinte, et al., 2003). This comes as no surprise considering having sex early on can be linked to having friends who are actively having sex, which is exactly what Evie is to Tracy (Berk, 2011). Interestingly enough, this can also be linked with “drug use and delinquency” which is new to Tracy’s life as well (Berk, 2011). As terrible as some of what is depicted in this film can be, it is all stuff that we have covered in class, and what many adolescents go through.
During this stage of...