Nineteen Minutes Essay

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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Fiction Novel

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is a novel based on a school shooting in the small town of Sterling, but focuses more importantly on the feelings of the main characters, Peter Houghton and Josie Cormier, who experience insecurities and social acceptance, or lack of.
The novel explores the damaging effects of bullying, peer pressure and the dynamics of group interaction within teenagers in a modern day society.
Picoult’s novels are aimed at a mature audience, whether that is from adult to young adult-if they are emotionally ready to read it. Nineteen Minutes is a tragic and emotional novel, but teenagers are able to relate more due to the teenage characters and high school setting.
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We both know I didn’t get here by myself” (Kindle location 84).
Groups are portrayed in Nineteen Minutes from when they started kindergarten to high school. “Every kid in the school played a role; Jock, Nerd, Beauty and freak” (Kindle loc. 11600) Peter was viewed as an easy target throughout his school years, but had always had Josie to stand up for him. Josie gravitates away from Peter to be in the ‘cool’ group, and becomes to focused on how everyone views her and struggles with her own issues of acceptance, image and her sense of ‘belonging’.

Both Strictly Ballroom and Nineteen Minutes have used similar techniques of portraying ‘belonging’ and ‘not belonging’.
Peter Houghton and Dough Hastings are viewed as similar characters, although they both have different thoughts they are both showcased as a loner or someone not important. Peter, unlike Doug, wants to belong but his peers are holding him back by bullying him and he is unable to feel a sense of belonging, whereas Doug rejects belonging to any group in the film.
Scott Hastings is ridiculed and abused for dancing his own steps, and Josie Cormier from Nineteen Minutes believes that if she doesn’t put on a mask everyday to ‘belong’ to a certain group, she too will be bullied and unhappy. Scott and Josie can be contrasted, as Scott wants to belong to the ballroom world, but he wants to be himself and dance his own moves, unlike Scott, Josie tries to ‘belong’ by being untrue to
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