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Theme Of Coming Of Age In Literature

Powerful Essays
Coming of age has many aspects and undergoes changes throughout time, as Daniel Jones states, “What began as a way to fictionalize how a child became an adult became complicated throughout the centuries by other issues. Race, class, and gender all play a pivotal role in how a youth is expected to grow into an adult in various societies”. To reiterate, coming of age is about experiencing various facets of human life, and this journey, which is certainly not a simple one, differs from person to person. As coming of age is an experience that every reader can relate to, it is a prominent theme in literature, especially literature with a target audience of teens and young adults. While coming of age literature changes with society over time, but…show more content…
Mira attends a school which requires students to wear a uniform, but she finds it constricting, as it interferes with the ways she chooses to express herself through her appearance. As Mira explains how having a personal style makes her feel more comfortable in her own skin, she describes the restriction placed on her by the school’s required uniform: “But the uniform”, she explains “was meant to erase all individuality, guarding against anything that could be deemed ‘inappropriate attire for those representing the institution of St. Francis…’” (Scelsa, 9). Although deprived of self expression by the school’s uniform, Mira still attempts to make herself look as personalized as possible. Mira’s school uniform restrains her from personal expression, and she needs to find ways to express and maintain her individuality, and this is common throughout the novel. Her need to express individuality represents a common theme in coming of age. This common theme is also apparent in an essay by Dr. Kent Baxter titled “On ‘Coming of Age’”, in which Baxter states “The paradoxical tension of many coming of age stories is how to maintain the individuality one has sought throughout the pre-adult stage and still assimilate into society” (11). Similarly to all adolescents, Mira has an inherent need to maintain her individuality among her peers as she matures, and Mira’s story…show more content…
Throughout the book, many of the changes that the characters in the book undergo, as well as their different paths and self expression, demonstrate various coming of age themes. This is proven by a comparison to Dr. Baxter’s essay, as well as the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, perhaps one of the most iconic coming of age novels. To conclude, and to comment on an iconic novel, Harold Bloom notes that To Kill a Mockingbird “returns one to an optimism about possibilities in human nature and social concern that many of us no longer share” (Bloom). With this in mind, the importance and lasting effects of coming of age novels will be remembered for a
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