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The Transition From Youth to Adulthood - Essay Example

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*Dear Student, Please note that the files sent did not include publication information. After each title, please refer to the books in question and add publication city, publication company and date. Thanks. The transition from youth to adulthood is as volatile as that of a phoenix, dying and reborn from ashes…
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The Transition From Youth to Adulthood

Download file to see previous pages... It is a journey adddressed in both The All-American Poem, by Matthew Dickman, and This is Our Youth, by Kenneth Lonergan The All-American Poem is a collection of poetry that describes a variety of experiences had by a young adult, most centered around either awakenings or memories. This Is Our Youth takes us along as two young men attempt to make a drug deal with a stolen fortune. Though the language is very different – The All-American Poem is lyrical and image-rich, This is Our Youth rough and conversational – they both reach a common conclusion: youth does not die easy. Both works characterize the transition from youth to adulthood with a period of denial, when a young person responds to an adult situation, or to the transition itself, in a childish way. Is Our Youth, for example, begins with a literal physical split between Warren and his father. Tired of Warren's pot habit, his father kicks him out of the house. Warren responds with a casualness that marks him as more childlike than he would care to admit: “...'there's some cash, now pack up your shit and get out before I beat your fuckin' head in. And I was like, “Whatever.' So he went on a date with his whore, and I packed up my stuff and left.” (Lonergan I.i) The leaving of one's childhood home is perhaps the most literal transition to adulthood, and here Warren responds with a shrug and one-word response worthy of any teenager. Although the langauge is less rough, a similar situation plays out in the poem “V” in The All-American Poem. The narrator is fantasizing about a girl, but the images of his fantasies are extremely childlike. “I could show her my comic books/And PlayStation. We could pull out/My old D&D cards/ and sit in the basement with a candle lit.” (Dickman 33) The contrast here between an adult action and youthful pastimes suggest that, like Warren, the narrator has not yet departed childish attitudes. Although these lines are mixed with references to physics and math, the lack of many adult references in this portion of the poem suggests that the narrator's thoughts are, like Warren's, more childish than he knows. The difference between the two characters, however, is that the poem's narrator engages in childlike thoughts and adult actions. Warren's situation plays out in an opposite way; the action of leaving home is adult, but his reaction to that leaving betrays a childish mindset. Childish thoughts aside, however, these situations describe the brink of adulthood in a way that becomes more obvious when the scales begin to tip. On the following page, the language of “V” becomes significantly more adult, with many sexual and physical references and stark language that startles in its transition from the poem's earlier innocence. Dickman writes, “It's been talking sleazy to all of us/And there's nothing about the hydrogen bomb/That makes me want to wear a cock ring,” and “Maybe she wants to be measured beyond/The teaspoon shadow of an anus”. (34) The more adult themes appear abruptly, invoking the image of a quick and violent change. Unsurprising because This is Our Youth is significantly longer than “V,” Warren's attitude takes longer to change. At first, he responds to his exile by stealing money from his father, with the same casual attitude: “....hopefully he'll think one of his cohorts ripped him off. Or, like, his slut did it.” (Lonergan I) But when he and his friend Dennis decide to take the money and buy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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