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Coming of Age Literature

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Emily Meddick

on 16 January 2015

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Transcript of Coming of Age Literature

Coming of Age

The Relationship Between Literature and Growing Up
Traumatic Experience
Not Being Treated As Human
Factors that Affect The Process
Cultural Influence
The Garden Party
Never Let Me Go
Memoirs of a Geisha
Catcher In the Rye
Self-Identity
Environmental-Identity
The Character Development Patterns in Literature Studied
The Garden Party
Never Let Me Go
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Catcher In The Rye
What Is a Coming of Age Story?
In terms of literature, the genre "Coming of Age", is any story that follows a protagonists journey through growing up.
The sub-genre, bildungsroman, is in particular a story with a dynamic protagonist who psychologically and morally changes gradually throughout the novel.
By making discoveries about themselves and the world around them they become more experienced and mature. It is basically about the character receiving an education on life.
physiologically and psychological
What does it mean to grow up?
Adult
Child
Physically incapable of independence
Up until about 10 years old a child is completely dependent on the environment that adults provide for them (i.e. shelter, food, water, etc.)
Mentally dependent upon their guardians knowledge
According to Jean Piaget, a developmental psychologist, "[c]hildren construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment." (McLeod)
During early childhood it is parents who clarify the discrepancies.
Works Cited
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. 1st ed. New York City: Little, Brown, 1951. Print.

Golden, Arthur. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Print.

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.

Mansfield, Katherine. The Garden Party. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 1921. Print.

McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget. Retrieved from http: www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

"Young Adult Development Project." <i>Young Adult Development Project</i>. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. &lt;http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html&gt;.

Fuligni, Andrew, and Jacquelynne Eccles. "Perceived Parent-Child Relationships and Early Adolescents' Orientation Toward Peers." American Psychological Association, 1 Jan. 1993. Web.

Kolk, Bessel A. <i>Psychological Trauma</i>. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric, 1987. Print.


AdolescenT
Physically able to be independent by evolutionary standards
Begin spending less time with parents and more time with peers; meaning that they are craving mental independence
"Early adolescents may orient toward peers while distancing
themselves from their parents because their peer
relationships fit some of their developmental needs better than
their relationships with their parents. Increasingly able to think
abstractly and to use complex reasoning, early adolescents are
likely to seek opportunities and settings in which they can practice
these new skills, establish forms of independent thinking,
and develop their own identity" (Baumrind, 1991; Ybuniss, 1980)
Physically and mentally able to be independent
View of the world around them is more aligned with reality
Emotional stability and ability to make complex and properly thought out decisions
More concerned with long-term goals rather than instant gratification
Better at accepting responsibility for themselves and others
More focus put towards interdependency
According to recent findings, the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s. (Giedd)
"Traumatized children often have a heightened sense of vulnerability. They suffer from cognitive and perceptual changes, a reliance on rhythmical activities, and time distortions. They are prone to attach magical explanations to events beyond their control" (van der Kolk 15)
Instead they may develop helplessness and loss of control, vulnerability, loss of ability to control anxiety and aggression, and integration or dissociation.
For Being a Women
For Being A Clone
When a child has a traumatic experience it can leave a very devastating imprint on them and prevent them from fully developing adult characteristics. They may be unable to “learn to trust others, regulate their emotions, and interact with the world” (Effects of Complex Trauma)
Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of "The Catcher In The Rye" by J.D. Salinger, has experienced childhood trauma (the death of his brother, Allie), which contributes to his inability to accept societal norms. The "lack of social support following [the] trauma [heightened] [his] sense of lost security" (van der Kolk 11).
When a being who is scientifically and logically considered a human is not considered to be so by their society, for whatever reason, there are incredible psychological effects.
In respect to the literature studied, the unrealistic societal expectations caused there to be a stark contrast between the protagonists innocent view of the world and reality.
While most children only have to accept that they wont grow up to be a princess or an astronaut, others must accept that their sole purpose is to serve men or that they wont live a full life.
In "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golding, Sayuri/Chiyo is faced with a society that
expects her to surrender her freedom, simply because she is a women living a male dominated society
"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro, shows life through the eyes of a clone bred only to sacrifice her vital organs as an adult. In their world no disease is incurable, but at the price of morality.

Plot Summaries
The Garden Party
By: Katherine Mansfield
In this short story the main character, Laura Sheridan, is planning a garden party that her wealthy family is throwing for their friends. During the preparations though, Laura learns that a man from the poverty ridden cottages down the hill has died, to which her immediate reaction is to stop the party out of respect. Her family sees this as being too "extravagant" (Mansfield 7), so they continue with the party.
Afterward, Laura then heads down to the mans wake to give them the scraps from the party. When she sees the family and the mans body she realizes how blind her families social class has made her to the real world.
Never Let Me Go
By: Kazuo Ishiguro
This novel is told through the perspective of Kathy H. as a memoir of her life with her two friends, Tommy and Ruth. At first, it seems to be a normal story about young children at an English boarding school, but as Ishiguro slowly allows the reader in on the truth you learn that the children are nothing more than sheep to the slaughter.
Their coming of age story is centered around the challenges of accepting your place in the grand scheme of things.
In their world they are clones with the sole purpose of being harvested for their organs in order to cure the human population of otherwise incurable diseases.
Memoirs of a GeisHa
By: Arthur Golding
This novel is the memoir of a poor young girl, Chiyo, living in Japan before WWII, who is sold to a geisha house in order to train to become a geisha. After she tries to meet with her sister though, Chiyo gets in trouble with Mother, the geisha house owner, and is forced to become a servant. Then she meets the Chairman, and decides that she must one day be with him no matter the consquences. Through a stroke of luck Chiyo encounters a woman who helps her train to become an apprentice geisha so that she can be with the Chairman. The rest of the story follows her journey as a geisha while she tries to pursue her goals in a society that demands that she must give up the dreams and wishes of the girl behind the painted face.
What is a Geisha?
For those of you who don't know, a geisha is a professional Japanese entertainer trained in the arts of singing, dance, instrument playing, etc.
Most often geisha are hired by wealthy business men to visit them at tea houses for small gatherings or even large parties.
As an apprentice geisha their virginity is sold to the highest bidder, after which they become a full geisha.
They may also have a Danna, a person who pays a very high price to have exclusive rights to have sexual relations with them. This arrangement is highly sought after by geisha since it is the only way that they can gain financial independence.
The Catcher In The Rye
By: J.D. Salinger
This novel follows the journey of protagonist, Holden Caulfield, after he is kicked out of boarding school. He spends several days wandering around New York visiting bars and calling up old acquaintances, all the while revealing his past through stream of consciousness narrative. Having been exposed to the worlds darkness at an early age he has a very sarcastic and skewed vision of the world. Holden then decided that it his purpose to protect childhood innocence in order to stop the corruption of other children at the hands of a world of phonies.
In this short story the path by which Laura Sheridan grows up is heavily influenced by the time that the story was written. The author, Katherine Mansfield, is considered to be one of the most prominent modernist short story writers of her time, which explains why some of the themes are so radical for the time it was written, 1922.
It is also obviously influenced by the Marxist movement which was sweeping through Europe at that time. This movement during the 1920's was very class obsessed, and sought to tear down the illusions of social hierarchy.
By: Katherine Mansfield
By: Kazuo Ishiguro
Although the novel is set in a world that very much resembles modern England, it is not a British influence that is seen in the story.
The author, Kazuo Ishiguro, was in fact born and raised in Japan, and his asian cultural heritage is quite evident in his writing according to the psychology paper on the theory of identity fusion:
“Western cultures place particular importance on independence and the expression of one's own attributes [while] Asian cultures favor an interdependent view of the self: interpersonal relationships are more important than one’s individual accomplishments, and individuals experience a sense of oneness with the group” (Swann et al. 3)
By: Arthur Golding
This novel on the other hand, is completely opposite to Never Let Me Go. This story is set in Japan but heavily influenced by the Western style of writing that Arthur Golding employs.
Thus his characters are more likely to seek their own independent goals rather than accept their given place.
There is also the fact that popular Western writers seem to love to write about the success story, where someone poor through hard work and perseverance is able to become rich and prosperous.
By: J.D. Salinger
It is though somewhat influenced by class distinctions since the issues that the protagonist has are only relevant to an individual of privilege whose main objective is not based on survival.
The cultural influence of this novel is fairly straight forward since a Western author wrote about a teen in living in the United States.
Character Development
As each of the characters went along on their journey of growing up there was a common pattern to the character development in terms of psychological landmarks related to becoming a mature adult.
The basic pattern was that they first began to discover their self-identity and then after a "pinnacle" moment they began to develop their environmental identity as well as their self-identity. The result of which is a more experienced and mature character.
The self-identity phase of development is one in which the characters main objective is to discover their...
Personality Traits and Behaviour
Hopes and Dreams for the Future
Sexuality
What They Want Out of Life
Basically at this time the protagonist is trying to define themselves as an individual by using the world around them to understand themselves better.
In literature this phase is characterized by the protagonist being somewhat disconnected from society, having major changes in the way they deal with personal or social situations, and trying to make themselves stand out.
The environmental identity phase of development is one in which the character begins to discover where they fit in within their society, in other words, it is when their “world opens up and [they] realize that [they] are not the center of it” (Croan).
Some of the patterns in literature that indicate this phase is an acceptance of ones place in the scheme of things, view of the future aligning with reality, and priorities shifting towards being more interdependent.
This phase is heavily affected by the authors cultural influence on their writing.
By: Katherine Mansfield
By: Kazuo Ishiguro
By: Arthur Golding
By: J.D. Salinger
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