Coming of age is the time where people change a lot and think a lot for their lives. During this period, people learn more about themselves, explore more responsibility and independence and accept their identity. It is true that we learn more when we come of age. On that basis the movie ‘Looking for Alibrandi’, by Kate Woods, the novel ‘The Spare Room’, by Kathryn Lomer, and the poem ‘The Door’, by Miroslav Holub are all about coming of age events and experiences. The composers use a variety of techniques to communicate these ideas, which will provide that basis for the following discussion.
‘Looking for Alibrandi’ is a film that explores the theme of identity in the context of ‘coming of age’ The main character Josie is an Australian girl, but she is of an Italian origin. She sometimes feels shameful about her family background; she does not like the Tomato Day. She just want to get rid of her grandmother. In the opening scene ‘Tomato Day’, the director has used a lot of techniques to show that Josie rejects her own culture. Her voiceover is used to show the audience that she feels embarrassed and unimpressed by the Italian tradition the Tomato Day.
At the same time, she changes the Italian music and leaves early which indicates she really hates it. This makes a question in the audience’s mind - “where does she belong. ” Josie was the product of her mother’s teenage pregnancy and that is the disgrace her grandmother never lets her forget. In the scene where Josie and Nonna are talking in the house, their conversations have shown that Josie still struggles with her identity. Josie, uses a high tone to talk to Nonna “You wish I don’t belong to you.”
This shows that Josie feels a bit angry with her grandmother Nonna. The film imagery closes up Josie and Nonna’s eyes, showing both of them are angry with each other. However, as the year progresses she becomes more accepting of her Italian background. She realises that no matter what she does, she still has the same background. Why doesn’t she try to accept it instead of being embarrassed of it? The film ends with the same scene ‘Tomato Day’, but as one year over Josie feels more happy with where she belongs.
Music is again a feature. This time Josie doesn’t change the music; she encourages her family to dance and helps a lot in the Tomato Day. Thus it is clear that we learn more about ourselves when we have come of age. ‘The Spare Room’ is a novel that contains a lot of experiences about coming of age. The protagonist Akira is of a Japanese background. He goes to Australia to learn English through the decision of his father. Akira’s life is ruled by his dominant father. He does not want to go to the business college.
His relationship with his father is stable, but Akira does not get a word in edgeways in the conversation with his father and the decision made is ignored by his father. Akira feels that his life in Japan is like a cage; he is anxious to escape from the ‘tight confines of life in Tokyo’. Overall, it is clear that before leaving his environment Akira has never shaken someone’s hand, he does not initiate conversation with strangers but the trip to Tasmania fills him with excitement and spark of anticipation. After the experiences in Tasmania, he has learned a lot and became more mature.
Akira’s relationship with his best friend Stolly in Tasmania is a very meaningful relationship. Stolly gives a hand to Akira and makes him feel better in a foreign country. For example, Stolly invites Akira to his father’s fiftieth birthday party which makes Akira understand, learn and accept Greek culture. Descriptive language is used to describe the situation at the party. Words like ‘hugs’, ‘kisses’ illustrate that these people are very friendly and welcome Akira.
These feelings “Such a warm,closing feeling ... and good spirits.” from Akira tells the responder that Akira is welcome to the party and Akira recognised the differences in with his own culture. Akira is becoming more mature and he is asking himself serious questions about his life. At the end of the story, Akira has developed a sense of self. Satoshi’s death makes Akira determined to do more in his life and the experiences in Tasmania help him to grow and become more mature. He explains that it will allow him to “make decisions for my self and shape my own life. ” He has become more confident and mature.
He is confident enough to be honest to his family. He has become an individual. This tells that we learn more about ourselves when we come of age. The poem ‘The Door’ offers a challenge to a young person. They are advised that they must find a way to enter a new world because the world of a child is now close to an end. The poem predicts that if you open the door you may find fog. Fog is the metaphor for confusion. It is of a world where you do not know. It is the danger of coming of age. You find worlds of work, of romance, of new dimension and experiences.
This also show that we learn more about ourselves when we come of age. Different texts explore the issues coming of age within their own context. Josie is from Sydney and she is a HSC student. She accepts her identity and has a better relationships with her family. Akira discovers how to mix known culture with the unknown, becomes more mature and finds the way for his own future. In ‘The Door’, there is a challenge, the door and coming of age which we have to discover our own way. All these show that when we come of age, we learn more about ourselves.