When you were a child, have you ever burnt yourself by touching fire? If so, your parents may have warned you, but you hurt yourself anyway out of curiosity. After that experience, would you ever repeat yourself and touch it again? Of course not! Due to this pain you experienced, you’ll unlikely do it again. Similarly, ‘we mature and learn through our experiences and challenges through coming of age. ’ The transition to adulthood isn’t simply just door that you walk through when you reach a stage of adulthood.
It’s like a stairway that you climb, step-by-step, throughout adolescence.
To better understand this concept, the novel ‘Anne of Green Gable’ by Montgomery is a clear depiction of coming of age. The text is written in form of third-person omniscient, where the point of view shifts to reveal the different perspectives and experiences of Anne and Marilla by representing a child and an adult view.
This technique also allows the audience to observe the process Anne’s identity being forged.
The persona ‘Anne Shirley’s experiences various challenges of coming of age but the ones of importance are: 1. Misunderstanding 2. Use of Hurtful words 3. Death of loved ones The idea of ‘misunderstanding’ is presented through the idiom “For pity’s sake hold your tongue. ” which Marilla said to Anne simply telling her to be quiet allowing the audience to identify the talkativeness of Anne identifying the misunderstanding of her actions. This is further reinforced by the quote Anne said to Matthew: “It’s so easy to be wicked without knowing it”, which juxtaposes with Anne’s experiences of maturity with Marilla.
Misunderstandings are also incidents in which individuals are able to learn about the consequences of their actions.
Such a scenario is when Anne is accused of stealing Marilla’s brooch. However, inexperienced Anne’s reaction was to ‘lie’ that she has stolen it. Marilla therefore is able to teach Anne a lesson about misunderstanding and the issue of accepting blame. This experience later helps Anne to maintain her friendship between Diana and resolving the misunderstanding she had with her mother, in which she’s able to understand the others as well.
The value of forgiveness, within maturity is learnt by Anne when her neighbour, Mrs Rachel uses the simile “hair as red as carrot” reinforced by descriptive language “terrible skinny, omely, freckles” defining Anne’s appearances, putting Anne in an emotional state. Immaturely Anne reacts by insulting Mrs Rachel and later refuses to apologise until her conversation with Matthew, Marilla’s brother. Where she learns the value of being humble and how insults with Hurtful words can ruin relationships. She also continues to mature by apologizing to Mrs Rachael. Anne’s biggest challenge was this event of Matthew’s death, where she experienced loss as an orphan when her parents passed away as well as other people who adopted her.
Anne shows maturity during this ordeal by worrying and taking care of Marilla even through her own state of despair. In which she’s able to establish the value of responsibility. Like the pieces of a puzzle where they’re put together to form a picture, it represents the inner-qualities that Anne gains from every experiences. Allow Anne to establish a sense of identity and adulthood. Therefore our identities are formed by the experiences and challenges that we face throughout our lives and are built upon the values we gain from every trial.