Becoming an adult does not happen in a day. This process takes years of maturing and developing a brain that is capable of making smart life decisions. In the short stories “Stepdaughters” by Max Apple and “A&P” by John Updike, two young adults are put in difficult situations and forced to overcome them by making their own choices. In “Stepdaughters”, Stephanie, a high school student athlete struggles with her relationship between her and her mother. Stephanie shot-puts for her school but her mother is repelled from this masculine performance.
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Therefore, she has to make adult decisions on her own and mature quickly. In “A&P”, a young ’19 year old’(Updike 157) adult named Sammy, is a cashier at a supermarket and is forced to make some quick impulsive decisions. These two young adults have varied paths in which they mature by the right of passage. In these two short stories, two young adults are forced to make spontaneous decisions in their own situations and significant truths are learned that lead to changes in awareness that are more adult.
Young people often face harsh situations and are forced into making impulsive choices without consulting a more mature being. According to a critical review of this short story, one says that Sammy’s behavior is an attempt by Updike to reflect on his conviction that “the heroic gesture is often meaningless and usually arises from selfish rather than unselfish impulses” (Wilson). Sammy is pressured into quitting his job on the spot in order to gain the attention of a group of girls but fails miserably.
In “Stepdaughters”, Stephanie is pressured into making the decision of either continuing her career opportunity or stepping away to please her mother’s selfish tendency. Young people that are not quite as mature as some elder adults often are forced into making impulsive decisions that can have an important impact on their life. In addition, from these quick choices, significant truths are learned that lead to changes in awareness that are more adult.
One of the significant truths that Stephanie learns in “Stepdaughters” is that
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with hard work and plenty of dedication, no matter who opposes, a young adult can achieve his/her dream. One of the significant truths Sammy learns in “A & P” is that not all of the decisions one makes can benefit him/her. His quick trigger to quit trying to impress the three girls turns out to be a disastrous one. Significant truths learned in each story can convert to some real life situations within ones’ own life. These truths develop young people’s maturity quickly and give them stronger decision making mechanisms.
In conclusion, young adults are forced to make mature spontaneous decisions in their own situations and significant truths are learned that lead to changes in awareness that are more adult. These initiation stories about young adults coming of age create strong lessons readers can take away. Max Apple and John Updike create vivid scenes and relatable stories that anyone can enjoy. Coming of age is a difficult part of life for anyone to overcome. Stephanie and Sammy are two polar opposite people but their different initiation stories give us positive feedback.See More on Decision making