The Theme Of Coming Of Age In Literature Essay

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The Theme of Coming of Age in Literature


There comes a time is each person's life when they reach the point where
they are no longer children, but adults. The transition from a child into a
young adult is often referred to as the "coming of age," or growing up. The
time when this transition occurs is different in everyone, since everyone is an
individual and no two people are alike. Certain children reach this stage
through a tragic, painful event which affects them to such extent that they are
completely changed. Other children reach this time by simply growing older and
having a better understanding of the world around them. The coming of age
really is indefinite and cannot be marked in general overview. This stage in
life is one of
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Boys rites often involve
seclusion from women, hazing by older males, test of manliness, and genital
operations, including circumcision. Girls rites are just as bad if not worse
with things like removal of the clitoris. In some places in North America, the
ritual is individual where as in Africa and Oceania the ritual can be collective.
A plain Indian adolescent boy undertakes a vision quest; he goes out alone into
the wilderness, endures hardship, and seeks a vision from his animal guardian
spirit; if he gets one, he returns a man.

Yet a different way for these rituals is group rituals. These often
takes months or even years, as among many Australian aboriginal tribes. Novices
learn great quantities of information and obey countless taboos. Instructors
are men who are strangers to boys. Ritual pulls the boy from childhood,
especially from his mother. He moves from the category of women and privileged
children toward the privileged one of the adult males. Such rites maintain
adult male togetherness and strengthen cultural continuity. They resolve boys
conflicts about sexual identity and establish clear attitudes toward fathers and
mothers. Such rites dramatize the power of older over younger males and state
that "only women can make babies: but only men can make men." (1995, Grolier
Encyclopedia) Such passage rites symbolize death of the child and rebirth as a
man, as well as male envy of…