Sarah Vowell and Annie Dillard both wrote essays about their youth with nostalgia, highlighting the significance of childhood as an innocent and mischievous time in their lives. In Sarah Vowell’s essay “Shooting Dad,” Vowell realizes that despite their hostility at home and conflicting ideologies concerning guns and politics, she finds that her obsessions, projects, and mannerisms are reflective of her father’s. On the other hand in Annie Dillard’s essay “An American Childhood” Dillard runs away from a man after throwing a snowball at his car, after getting caught she realizes that what matters most in life is to try her best at every challenge she faces no matter the end result. Sarah Vowell’s essay is more effective than Annie Dillard’s because she includes allusions and tones, which juxtaposes warfare and religion with the innocent
Everyone goes through the transition from childhood to adulthood. Boys become young men, and girls become young women; this is a significant stepping stone in the “journey to maturity.” Of course, becoming mature does not happen over night. Instead, it is a long process of learning from experience, which gives the young adult a new outlook on life and a new set of skills. The initiation theme is discussed in the article “Greasy Lake,” by critic Dennis Vanatta who argues that the author T.C. Boyle has created a narrator who is reflecting on his youth and an evening that would prove to be his stepping stone in the journey to maturity. Vanatta is correct; the narrator undergoes a rite of passage at Greasy Lake. In the beginning of the story,
Everyone has an imagination whether in depth or simple. Imagination is just a reflection of one's free spirit inside that cannot be shown on a regular basis. “The Centaur” by May Swenson shows a girl’s expression of her free spirit contrasting with the constraints of normal, everyday life.
In her story, “Eleven”, Sandra Cisneros tells a story about a little girl named Rachel and the different type of emotions she s feeling on her 11th birthday. Cisneros purpose is to reveal the fact that young adults want to speak up but are afraid to and don't have the authority as adults do. Cisneros builds Rachel's character for the readers through several literary techniques: smilie, juxtaposition, and her actions.
The story Marigolds, by Eugenia Collier, shows the harsh reality of becoming an adult in the poverty stricken times of the 1930’s. The story follows a girl, Lizabeth, as she makes the tough transition from a innocent child to an adult. As Lizabeth grows into an adult she experiences new emotions such as empathy and compassion, but in order to do so she loses her childish wonder and innocence. The story touches on themes of compassion, love, and hope associated with adulthood, but also the pain and defeat that comes with it. It shows the innocence and wonder of being a child, but also the fierce and intense emotions of adolescent. These immense differences between youth and adulthood helps to contribute to the the main theme of this story:
Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” discusses a child and father’s interactions within their kitchen as the mother watches while frowning. Roethke delivers his work through the child’s perspective, an unreliable speaker, which enables an ambiguous tone. This allows the reader to interpret the child and father’s relationship in many ways. Words involved in Roethke’s diction, such as “waltzed,” “romped,” and “dizzy,” indicate enjoyment within the relationship. On the other hand, “beat,” “death,” and “battered” create a sinister picture of abuse. In addition to diction being used to formulate an abusive relationship, the simile, “but I hung on like death,” also reinforces the idea as death typically has a negative connotation. On the contrary,
In the short story “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier, a woman named Lizabeth tells the story about her 14-year-old self maturing into the woman she is now while having to deal with the Great Depression. This story tells the events that occurred in Lizabeth’s childhood that causes her to mature, it takes place in a town that struggles with poverty. Although Lizabeth’s adolescence affects her actions when she would disrespect Miss Lottie and her garden, her adult perspective in the story reveals that she learned that one can’t have both compassion and innocence.
In the coming of age story “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” Joyce Carol Oates uses symbolism, conflict, and the third person to foreshadow fifteen-year-old Connie’s unfortunate, yet untimely fate. While one may think that the conflict stems from Connie’s promiscuity, it is clear to see her promiscuity is only a result to a much bigger conflict, her mother’s constant nagging and disapproval, alongside the lack of attention from her father. the author paints a vivid picture of what happens when a fifteen-year-old girl such as Connie goes elsewhere to find to find the love, attention, and approval that she lacks at home. All which is vital for her growth and wellbeing as a person.
In the poem, “My Papa’s Waltz”, Theodore Roethke illustrates the complex relationship between a little boy and his father by juxtaposing images of love and violence through word choices that portray feelings of fear yet affection for his father. Roethke’s shifting tone encompasses distress and a sense admiration that suggests the complexities of violence both physically and emotionally for the undercurrents of his father and son relationship.
We can identify a characteristic of gender roles through the eyes of the persona. The nurturing nature of the mother can be seen when she ‘dried [the child’s] tearful face’. Contrasting to the father who ‘whistling, [comes] home from work’, through the alliteration portrayed through the father as the bread winner of the family and thereby the guardian of the household. By drawing attention to these gender roles in the context of childhood memory, the persona is subliminally implying the permanent repeated display of gender roles throughout generations and how it has not changed. However, this observation is downplayed by refocusing on the childhood memories as the combinations of events ‘milk and story-books / the gathered flowers / my mother’s golden brown hair’, psychoanalytically reveals the significance of childhood memories in their ability to evoke nostalgic and pleasing emotions to distract the audiences thoughts on gender roles. The poem The Violets acts as a stimulant for viewers to re-conceptualise the impact and existence of gender roles.
Sexuality is the most notorious and common sign of development in adolescence. “The House on Mango street”, by Sandra Cisneros is a coming of age novel, where Esperanza transitions from a girl into a young teen. In her journey, Esperanza comes across many challenges, she is forced to grow up by life’s adversities. In the short story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, a mother advises her daughter and scolds her into becoming a decent woman. In her guidance, the mother is worried about her daughter’s sexual activity and warns her about the consequences of improper behavior. “A&P” by John Updike, is also a short story where a boy named Sammy comes across his sexuality when he spots three girls wearing bikinis entering the
Maintaining a healthy relationship can present some reservations because of the way characters interact with each other and also as a result of bad nurturing. For example, in “Those Winder Sundays and “The Possessive” both authors face discomfort as a result of each protagonist in the poem relying on someone else to make them happy. A level of maturity is the key to understanding one’s self- identity and one’s own independence. In Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays” he explains how his father’s motive for loving him and raising becomes a challenge for the son to accept, because of his adolescent behavior and likewise in Sharon Old’s poem “The Possessive” the narrator would describe how uncomfortable she felt when she her daughter grow up too fast. Both poems use a narrative that suggest that there are
Throughout all of history, the actions of teenagers have been scrutinized by adults. This scrutiny can be seen in short stories such as, John Updike’s “A & P,” as well as Max Apple’s “Stepdaughters.” For “Stepdaughters” we can see the rebellion through the 15-year-old Stephanie’s continuation of shot-putting, despite her mother’s disapproval and her stepfathers ‘neutral’ position. While in “A & P” the rebellious behavior of wearing their bathing suits into the store is disapproved upon by the manager, whereas the employee feels they have done no wrong. The stories’ conflicts have similar features: antagonists who oppose the choices of the teenage girls and protagonists who support the girls.
Unlike “From Childhood,” set within the home of the mother and son, this mother-son-duo is at a party. This mother is persistent in taking her son away from his surroundings and reeling him in to her—keeping an eye on him is simply not enough. Nowlan writes, “The touch of her hand embarrasses him” (Nowlan, 390). Taking the term overbearing to new extremes, the mother is not content unless her hands are physically on her son. While it is completely normal for a mother to have protective instincts and to watch over their children, the level of overbearing the mother in the poem reaches is radical. This boy, paralleling the boy in “From Childhood,” is being smothered so much so that it is impacting his life negatively. Though some might argue that his attention induced embarrassment is typical of a growing child, context clues point to his mother’s overbearing nature as the direct culprit of his discomfort. The relationship between the parties of both “From Childhood” and “Mother and Son” are uncanny. But even so, the way in which the mother in “Mother and Son” acts overbearingly differs to that of the overbearing actions of the mother in “From Childhood,” thus giving this maternal relation its own place on the wide-ranged