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When Are You Going To Grow Up?

1077 words - 5 pages

There comes a significant time in everyone’s life when we reach the point that we are no longer seen as children, but as adults. This transition from childhood into adulthood is often referred to as the “coming of age” stage or growing up. The transitional stage of life occurs differently in everyone, which is why the initiation of change differ in “Quinceanera” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates. These three pieces of literature all embody the “coming of age” theme. Some people reach this special point in their life by simply grasping a better understanding of what is going on in the world around ...view middle of the document...

The opinions and lifestyles of the older generation and the younger generation differ tremendously, but in “The Lesson,” Sugar, one of the poor children, begins to realize Miss. Moore is trying to help her and her friends and she also begins to clearly understand Miss Moore’s lesson. Sugar’s willingness to understand Miss. Moore badly disturbs Sylvia and she gets angry when she figures out Sugar is curious with questions and understands the purpose of the lesson. Excitingly, Sugar grows to understand what is going on in the world around her, and she begins to talk about the field trip and explain how flabbergasted she is at how expensive the toys were at FAO Schwartz in Manhattan. Miss Moore’s lesson all along was that money is not evenly distributed.
Understanding the world we live in can be very difficult and that is why this can serve as a life changing event, but this transition stage can also take place after tragic events happen in someone’s life. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates, an adolescent named Connie goes through some tough situations involving moral and sexual decisions. She is stalked and abducted by a man named Arnold Friend. This man is symbolic to the devil and evil spiris. After her tragic interactions with Arnold Friend, Connie changes. Because Arnold Friend is a fantasy to her a first, she begins to distance herself from her home life and attempts to depend less on her mother. In return, Connie releases her adult side of sexual maturity and independence. What she did not realize was that a killer and pervert had already chosen her as his next victim. The life that she once lived as an innocent, fifteen year old girl sadly ended at the hands of Arnold Friend. Without being given a choice, Connie was forced to go through the “coming of age” transition in her life.
Lastly, The “coming of age” event is often celebrated differently in many cultures, through rituals and ceremonies. For example, sweet sixteen parties are commonly celebrated in America; the...

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