The chapters we read in Wilkins truly bother me.  I take issue with their claiming that to get through the “pain and torment” of teenage years every high school kid has to take on the mantle of some affiliation, club or sport.  While I agree that becoming involved in a school is incredibly important, it is also important to note that a lot of growing (emotionally and mentally) comes from within.  The connection I made with this text was one to my current English class Coming of Age in American Literature.  I have had lengthy conversations about the American Bildungsroman and what it is to grow up in the USA over the last century.  I claim no mastery of the subject, but I do have an idea of what it is to go from child to adult.

A personal idea.  The coming of age moment is one that an individual must almost create for him or herself.  Wilkins comes up woefully short claiming that Unity Christianity was almost necessary for these poor children to have survived teenage life.

I disagree wholeheartedly.  Yes, growing uo is tough.  Yes, fitting in to your peer group is difficult.  I think that Wilkins gives far too much credit to the Unity Christianity organization.  The reason these kids’ lives turned around was sheer force of will on an individual level.  Without personal choices, perseverance and confidence these children may never have joined the Unity at all.  Wilkins does a great disservice to the coming of age story for teenagers.

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