Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Adolescent Rebellion Essay

Adolescents go to extreme measures to find their identity, often times rebelling to prove that they are their own people. Rebelling is a way for the adolescent to prove their independence, which makes sense in Huck’s case. Rebelling can range from not obeying parents to making friends with undesirable characters to completely going against the norms of the society. Huck’s home life and upbringing fuel his desire to rebel especially since he has trouble adapting to society, similar to Holden Caulfield, always looking for ways to be different and often times difficult and unreasonable. The adolescent years are marked by the search for personal identity and finally experiencing the real world as a maturing adult. With this being said, the reason adolescents such as Huck rebel is because they have trouble accepting the norms of society and refuse to conform. In the first novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Author Mark Twain uses this story to show the immorality of society in the 1800’s. To convey this message, he uses his main character, a rebellious adolescent named Huck Finn. Huck has a very difficult time accepting the ways of society and refuses to let his guardians, The Widow Douglas, Miss Watson, as well as many other characters attempt to civilize him. Huck rebels against many things such as religion, education, cleanliness, and mannerisms. He even rebels against the main principle of society at the time which is slavery. He befriends a slave named Jim and is given the choice of following society’s rules and turning him in or treating him as an equal and assisting him to freedom. Mark Twain uses this novel to address many issues in society in the 1800’s, but mainly slavery and prejudice. I believe this novel teaches morals and lessons involving children and racial discrimination today. In the essay titled, The Controversy over Race: Does Huckleberry Finn Combat or Reinforce Racism, critic Julius Lester goes to the extent of saying that Mark Twain’s writings are â€Å"ethically dangerous† and claims that the author is in fact somewhat racist. He believes that Mark Twain does not take slavery seriously and therefore African Americans. He explains how Twain makes a mockery of Jim, degrading him throughout the novel through the use of Huck Finn. (356) Many critics like Lester, imply many negative claims against Twain but I believe this accusation is irrelevant because Twain is not using Huck Finn to degrade Jim, he is in fact using him as a symbol of innocence to the immorality of society. Huck is at that age where he is unaware of the difference between right and wrong but when he is faced with a matter as complex as discrimination; he takes his own path instead of following society’s regulations. Like a toddler at the playground, when a child of different color or race approaches them to play, they don’t discriminate; they sense a friendly individual and befriend them. Twain allows his character to rebel against the prejudice society, in order to raise awareness and address the issue of racism. The other criticisms we have read and discussed this semester, critique and pin point any flaw possible of criticism in each of the novels. Some criticisms aimed towards one novel can even apply to others. In Brivic’s The Disjunctive Structure of Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, the author states, â€Å"Psychoanalysis shows how the images that weave through Portrait are linked by unconscious motivation to form a dynamic structure. Within this structure Stephen Dedalus develops his thinking around a central principle of connection with the world through alienation. And the conflicts and transformations in the structure enact opposing views by which Joyce both supports and condemns Stephen (279). This quote is interesting because it applies to two of the novels characters we have been introduced to, both Portrait’s alter ego,Stephen Dedalus, and The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, the society outcast looking for a path in life. Stephen and Holden both encounter many similar situations, where they find themselves in search of happiness and comfort. J. D Salinger puppets the protagonist of Holden Caulfield to verbally assault almost every in stitution and character he encounters during his transition from childhood to adulthood. Deeply mentally and emotionally disturbed, Holden resists conformity to every vice, failing out of four preparatory schools, lying about countless details to add excitement to his anticlimactic life, and stereotyping every individual he encounters and labeling them â€Å"phony†, proving Holden to be the most superficial of all the characters. Holden’s opinionated personality allows him to openly pass judgment and portray the kind of behavior he thinks contributes toward the corrupted, indecent world he is apart of. Holden believes he must be a protector of innocence; he must protect Phobe and all hildren from the cruel reality of how the world operates. He is â€Å"The Catcher in the Rye†, based off a poem, where he will catch the children and protect them as they fall off the cliff of childhood into the reality of adulthood, it is possible Holden Caulfield is consumed by the idea of sex, Holden engages in several contradicting actions, he solicits a prostitute b ut refuses to sleep with her, yearns for the affection or companionship of another girl but distances and degrades himself when he feels exposed, and repeatedly calls â€Å"Jane† but hangs up before speaking with her. J. D Salinger uses Holden to raise the issues of sexuality, sexual promiscuity, and homosexuality several times throughout the novel. In Daisy Miller, Author Henry James discusses the morals between the Americans and the Europeans and the involvement of women in the time setting of the novel. Daisy Miller, the main character, is one of the main mysteries throughout the novel as the author causes the reader to wonder whether she is really a â€Å"nice† girl or not. Daisy is young, wealthy, attractive American girl who travels through Europe with her family. With a strange mixture of personality traits ranging from high spirited and independent to ignorant and shallow, Daisy goes on an adventure that is illustrated to clarify the subtext involving the differences in American and European values. The author directs the audience towards the gender roles in society and how women of this time setting were at a much higher social standard. Women at this time were controlled with a sexist set of rules appointed by government officials according to gender. As you get deeper into the novel, you find out that Daisy is not as innocent as she seems she is very rebellious. Through this rebellion, the author addresses sexist tendencies and the pride of American womanhood and freedom despite social constraints. The reasons why adolescents rebel vary from person to person yet they hold one thing in common. It is to prove their independence as they disagree with how they should conform to society. Whether people are â€Å"fake† or the norms of the society, like slavery and racism, are wrong, adolescents find a way to be difficult in a sense to prove they have their own identity and they are independent. Each of the authors we have read over the course of the semester, Twain, Joyce, Salinger, and James took the risk of breaking the rules with their words in order to convey their messages to a large-scale audience. The adolescent years are marked by the search for personal identity and finally experiencing the real world as a maturing adult. With this being said, the reason adolescents such as Huck rebel is because they have trouble accepting the norms of society and refuse to conform.

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