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Struggles of adolecents - Essay Example

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This research explores issues like fitting in, while standing out, the struggles of adolescents. The paper presents three stories that explore the various struggles of adolescents: Toni Morrison’s “1922”, Amy Tan’s “Half and Half”, and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”…
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Struggles of adolecents
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Fitting In, While Standing Out: The Struggles of Adolescents
Adolescents exist in that sensitive stage of their lives, when they are still forming their identities, while also asserting their individualities. Minority adolescents, in particular, have their distinct challenges, especially when situated in the context of race and gender. Three stories explore the various struggles of adolescents: Toni Morrison’s 1922, Amy Tan’s Half and Half, and Alice Walker’s Everyday Use. In all three stories, adolescents struggle with the complex process of fitting in enough, but still standing out to some extent, so that they can freely express who they are, specifically as they are victimized by their gender and racial statuses.
Adolescents struggle to fit in, especially in a white society dominated by males. Morrison talks about Ned and Sula who arrive at Medallion's Bottom and they are welcomed by diverse sexual innuendos: "When a woman approached, the older men tipped their hats; the younger ones opened and closed their thighs" (p. 42). These men find these young girls as fresh animal meat for the eating. Ned and Sula want to fit in enough to ensure that they can thrive in the environment, despite the sexist environment. Dee of Alice Walker’s Everyday Use also wants to fit in with the more upscale urban society, as she develops disdain for her family’s rural upbringing and lack of education. Rose in Amy Tan’s Half and Half further aims to be assimilated, as she tries to take care of her siblings, while determined to also find a welcoming place in the American society. These teenagers want to fit in; they want to blend in and feel accepted.
But social acceptance is not always a given, and oftentimes, adolescents must also struggle to stand out, so that they can express who they are, explicitly as they are victimized by their gender and racial statuses. Sula and Nel discover “that they were neither white nor male, and that freedom and triumph was forbidden to them.” They then want to be something else, something more powerful. Dee also wants to be someone more distinctive. In college, she learns to embrace her African heritage, but for superficial purposes. She, nevertheless, remains her condescending self, as she continues to look down on her family’s insistence on simple and everyday-basis existence. Rose wants to stand out too, as she falls in love with an aggressive, white male. It is a form of defiance, a way of differentiating herself in her Chinese clan. These teenagers seek to stand out and become more than part of the crowd, because deep inside, they want to be recognized as individuals too.
Adolescents go through life seeking social acceptance, sometimes more from one group of people than another, such as their family or the white society in general. Adolescents are still growing up, however, and so they are confounded by multiple dilemmas. On the one hand, they want to fit in. On the other hand, they also want to stand out. For minority adolescents, fitting in can sometimes be more crucial than standing out, but sometimes, they also want recognition and respect for being distinct individuals too, especially when they are female and part of the minority race. And the struggle continues for adolescents who want to be accepted, but not made invisible by their society.
Works Cited
Morrison, Toni. 1922.
Tan, Amy. Half and Half.
Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. Read More
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