Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade September 2001

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Adolescence and Change of the Person Adolescence is an abyss between innocent childhood and individual adulthood. Adolescence has been a time of contemplation and self-discovery all through history. The search to find oneself in a void between innocence and the real world is a hard but constant query. " Who am I?" Is a question that everyone at one point in time has asked herself. We sometimes try to force ourselves into what we want to be and what our society thinks we should be, but sometimes that is not who we become and we are very unhappy. As we go on, though, in our constant search for ourselves we do find ourselves whether it is what we wanted to find or not. In Human Comedy, Great Expectations, A Separate Peace, and The Catcher in the Rye adolescence is a search for oneself, deliberation over correct identity, and final acceptance of oneself, whether it is good or bad.

Many times when one hits this limbo between childhood and adulthood there is an abrupt shock. Childhood is thought of as a "vision of peace" (Knowles 115), which is oblivious to anything bad, but shielded from the real world. Adulthood is an exact opposite; it is seeing the world in all its tainted glory. Some people can stand to leave one behind for the other. Finny won't leave behind a life of innocent games, fun and peace where he is in "exaltation" (Knowles 67), the " god" (67) of everything undisturbed. Holden wants not just to stay there but also to be its protector. He would "rub out" (Salinger 201) the contamination of the real world. They want to live forever in this non-reality and want to protect it for others.

People spend their lives trying to figure out who they are, and they go through pain and suffering to find the real them. Gene is sick of hearing of pain and suffering, he hates the idea that he could be a bad person he " didn't want to hear any more of it, ever" (Knowles 143) because he did want to hear the pain and suffering that happens in the real world that he is about to enter and become a part of. Finny screams for Brinker to "get every f---ing fact in the world" (Knowles 169) because he does not want to know the incriminating facts; he does not want to know that facts of the world he is going into. Mr. Mechano shows Ulysses the real world: fake people who fool you, and Ulysses doesn't like that. It puts " terror in his heart" (Saroyan 152) that he hadn't had before. He doesn't want the pain of growing up, and meeting more of these phonies, and maybe becoming one himself.

Sometimes in life we can be influenced by our surroundings or soul to be something we are not. Pip feels the strains he puts on himself to be a gentleman, or what he thinks Estella wants. He believes " the influence of my expectations on my character were not at all good." (Dickens 254) He is straying from his original, happy existence to be what others what him to be and not the real Pip. Gene asks himself why he " lets finny talk him into stupid things like this" (Knowles 9) but he is just trying to keep up with what he thinks is the perfect person, or Finny. Finny has to jump from the highest tree and so does Gene so as not to be left behind. He doesn't want finny to surpass him therefore he does something he does not want to do.

The search for self-identity always holds that wanting to be perfect but as usual we are not. We come short of our expectations. Gene is not " to good to be true" (Knowles 36) like Finny is. He strives to be, and is jealous of, the perfection. He hurts Finny to bring him down to a more attainable level even though as Gene did not see it he already was at an attainable level. Pip feels as though to be perfect he must be pleasing and lovable to Estella but he can never be. She was bred to " break his heart" (Dickens 55) so he could never have her and could never be good enough. As Homer works at the telegram station he sees the evil in the world and wants to be above it. When he becomes a man he wants to be above the pain and suffering, but Mrs. McCauley tells him " If a man has not wept the world's pain he is only half a man"(Saroyan 131) So she tells him that life cannot be just perfect, but you have to have all of everything in there.

When one finds themselves they realize that maybe they do not like what they have found. Holden sees that he can't be the protector of childhood, that he can be " damn happy" (Salinger 213) in another way. He realizes that what he wants to be and what he is becoming are different things, and though he does not like it, he must live with it cause that is who he is. Gene realizes his jealousy and despise he has of Finny. He realizes that maybe he wasn't such a good person, and this is hard for him to understand; Gene " doesn't want to hear anymore" (Knowles 143). He doesn't want to hear the horrors of the world because he realizes that he is just as bad. Pip becomes what he thought Estella wanted, but then he realizes that that is not what he wants. He is disgusted with what he is because he is not himself. But once Pip learns to be himself and not what he thinks he wants, he is "doing well"(Dickens 451). Because being yourself and not what others want can make you the most happy.

Adolescence is not only a time between twelve and twenty it is a cavity between a fantasyland and reality. Some have trouble crossing that cavity because they don't want to let go of a sheltered life. Others do not like what they see when they enter adulthood. They see a world full of suffering and despair, which is uninviting. Then there are those who try to change the world and make it better. There are endless reactions to discovery of oneself in adolescence, a time of pondering and self-discovery. To find out who you are you don't need the outside influence. Self-discovery is discovery of the self by the self.