“Coming of Age”
The phrase “Coming of Age” can mean something different to just about anyone. To me, it is a process when a child reaches a level of maturity that is superior to the last level. Although most children fail to admit it, when a child is young he or she is immature and ignorant about life. Coming of Age is when a child breaks out of that immaturity and reaches an ultimate level of maturity. The celebrity I chose to research is John Lennon.
John Lennon has spent most of his life inspiring the world with his music, including myself. My entire family has listened to him since I can remember causing his music to become a large part of my life. One of the quotes John Lennon said that inspired me the most was, “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!” (Norman 54). It caused me feel a sense of freedom in the choices I make in my life and that no matter what I decide to do if I’m happy I’ll be okay.
Coming of Age can represent the transition from childhood to adulthood through love. In the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare both Romeo and Juliet have their Coming of Age moment regarding falling in love with each other. Juliet realized that she must act based on her own feelings rather than the life her parents wanted for her. Romeo realized that with love comes great responsibility and you have
to make sacrifices but he had no legitimate understanding of love going into his marriage with Juliet. In Act 3, Scene 1 Romeo thinks he can have it all so he kills Tybalt without thinking of the repercussions it will have on Juliet and cried “O, I am fortune’s fool!” (Shakespeare 3.1). In the end, he can’t handle that his own actions are what caused what he thought was Juliet’s death. Both Romeo and Juliet’s Coming of Age moment was based on the feelings they felt for each other and the courage to not let anything stand in their way.
Another way Coming of Age can represent the transition from childhood to adulthood is through courage. In the play The Miracle Worker by William Gibson the character James demonstrates just that. Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness born deaf, blind, and mute with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her. Annie Sullivan came into the picture, half blind herself, but was determined to help and tame Helen whom no one could reach. Despite Annie’s help Helen’s father didn’t always agree with the way she was teaching Helen. In Act 3, Scene 3 Helen’s brother James, who had never doubted his father before, stood up to his father for himself and his family by shouting, “She’s right, Kate’s right, I’m right and you’re wrong!” (Gibson 3.3). This shows a rise in courage and maturity in James acting as his Coming of Age moment.
Another way Coming of Age can represent the transition from childhood to adulthood is through standing up for what you believe is right. In the poem I, Too by Langston Hughes the character known as “the darker brother” stands up for himself
against discrimination in America. The beginning of the poem states, “I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes.” (Hughes 1-4). This shows that the darker brother is being discriminated against because of the color of his skin and is forced to eat somewhere where company can’t see him. The end of the poem states, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, ‘Eat in the kitchen’…I, too, am American. (Hughes 8-13, 18). This shows that the darker brother is through being discriminated against and isn’t going to tolerate it any longer because we are all Americans. In this poem, standing up for what the darker brother believed was right was his Coming of Age moment.
I never thought the amount of pages I had to read in order to complete this paper would ever end. I used every source available to me including the internet for the Langston Hughes poem and research on John Lennon, my textbook for Romeo and Juliet and The Miracle Worker, and my mother for her Coming of Age experience. Most of the research was rather easy but some more tedious than others. The most tedious part for me was reading through 5 Acts of Romeo and Juliet in order to find and site the information correctly.
The most challenging part for me was citing the information in the three selections I choose: Romeo and Juliet, The Miracle Worker, and the poem I, Too. Romeo and Juliet wasn’t so much challenging, just long. I remembered the story from
reading it earlier in the year but having to site something from a certain act and scene took a lot of time. Much like Romeo and Juliet, finding what I wanted to cite from The Miracle Worker took just as long. The poem I, Too by Langston Hughes was the easiest of the three. Considering its only 18 lines long I was able to read and reread it multiple times in a matter of minutes which made it a lot easier to understand and cite.
My mother was an easy choice when deciding who to interview about their Coming of Age. My mom didn’t have the easiest of lives growing up in the time period she grew up in, being one of five children, and having very little money. When she was born her father was fighting in the Vietnam War and although he came home from time to time he wasn’t able to be a full time part of her life until she was about three years old. Being the oldest of five she had a lot more responsibility than I ever did and that was to help her parents take care of the house and her brothers. Through this interview I realized a lot about what makes my mom the person she is today and I’m glad I chose her for my interview.
My original idea of Coming of Age was the moment someone reaches the highest level of maturity in their lives. After all the research I’ve done I realize that what I thought to be the definition wasn’t completely true. Coming of Age could mean something different to everyone depending on their life experience. Romeo, Juliet, James, the darker brother, John Lennon and my mother all had different coming of age moments although the breakthrough in maturity was very similar. Now I would say
Coming of Age has to do with a breaking point, turning point, or a barrier you face in your life and how you grow in order to overcome it.
After interviewing my mother the main thing I learned is that I have an easy life. I remember when my mom used to say how she would have to walk to school in the pouring rain, sleet, and snow every time I complain about having to take a bus to school. I didn’t realize how easy I have it in comparison to what other people have went through and possibly still going though till I took the time to listen. I have the latest technology and all the luxuries there are to have and I still find a reason to complain. My mom didn’t have half the luxuries I have. She was lucky enough to have her own room to sleep in. I couldn’t imagine life without my cell phone, computer, television, or ipod. After learning and reading about what others have been through I know consider myself lucky and appreciate the people and things in my life.
Much like my mother, John Lennon didn’t have the easiest of lives. He was born in the 1940’s which puts him right in right in the middle of World War II (Norman 13). If being born during a war and depression wasn’t hard enough he also lost the closest thing he had, his mother, at a very early age. Shortly after his moms death John decided that instead of sitting around feeling sorry for himself he wanted to do something good and began playing music which in my opinion was his Coming of Age moment. John began writing and performing songs relating to making the world a better place. John Lennon became a very powerful and inspirational person. One of his most
well known and inspirational songs was called “Imagine” which he describes how the world would be without violence and governments, only peace (Norman 64).
John Lennon and I relate in an interesting way, neither he nor I was a good student in school. He spent his school years falling asleep in class, mocking teachers, doodling on his homework, and just clowning around in class much like I do (John Lennon 2). John wasn’t always like this though. It wasn’t until high school that he became such a disruptive, lazy student which I can only assume had a lot to do with losing his mother.
This project has caused me to learn a lot. The main thing I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t take things for granted. People in the past, present, and even the future aren’t always going to have the love, support, and material things I have today. I should appreciate the, things and the people in my life and stop always demanding for more.
In conclusion, I thought exploring the lives of peoples Coming of Age moments was very interesting and beneficial. As far as the process of the I-Search project I feel there are things that could be done differently to make it a better paper and a more enjoyable, beneficial process. This paper is unlike research papers I’ve done in the past. In my opinion this paper had more to do with my opinion than the research in general. Other than that writing this paper taught me a lot and caused me to appreciate people and things more.
Cite this “Coming of Age”
“Coming of Age”. (2016, Jun 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/coming-of-age-2/