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This is supposed to be a comparison/contrast essay. You need to compare the film with a story, for example, “A & P.”  1. Intro – a. background. b. X + summary c. Y + summary d. thesis.   2. Body. a. Just do the summary in the intro. b.  before coming of age, c. change, d. epiphany/effects – Make sure you make your discussion of X and Y about even.

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Weiding Fan

DISC 1312

Prof. Treat

9 May 2019

Coming of Age in the Sixteen Candles

“Understand that one day you will have the power to make a difference to use it well” the words of Mindy Kaling are a true reflection of the concept of coming of age as seen in most teenage films. Most of these film focus on the growth of an individual from the growth of the person to the maturity where the individual can make proper decisions. Most parts of the film resonate around the regions where an individual is developing challenging behavior as the person reaches young age. In the movie, sixteen Candles, for instance, the protagonist is visibly experiencing a coming of age, and this can be noticed in most parts of the film. These parts of the film focus on the transition in terms of the psychological and moral growth of a character in the movie. The director of the film, John Hughes, artistically integrates the aspects of the plot, themes and literary elements that constitute the character build of the protagonist to reinforce her role. Typically, coming of age looks into the issues physiological as well as emotional transitioning of an individual from one period to another.

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The protagonist Samantha is portrayed as coming of age as can be seen in the film. Samantha has to go to school on her birthday after her whole family forgets that she is turning sixteen on this day (Hughes 0:22). The audience of this film notice that an instance of coming to age can be seen through the character Sam, who makes a note that if she is given a chance to make love to someone, she will prefer Jake Ryan, who, the audience learns is her crash. In the reading A&P, her day is spoilt by a customer who picks a quarrel with her while she sells. From this incident, it is evident that she is easily irritable.  In this instance, the protagonist as depicted in this film is at the puberty stage. She has made familiar friends, whom she can share with some intimate conversations such as the person she desires to be with sexually. Ariantzi informs that they experience a “gradual integration into society and social identity formation of adolescents.” In this case, the character Sam wants to identify with some of her classmates who are having mutual feelings about sex. At the teenage, most adolescents find attraction in members of the opposite sex that they might have grown up with as friends. During this time, the perception of the adolescent towards the other individual is different since he or she begins to feel sexual attraction towards the partner.

Moreover, at the age of sixteen, Samantha feels that she has acquired a legally significant period. In the united states, the legal age for one to become an adult is the age of sixteen. Following this, many people value their sixteenth birthday, and Sam is not an option. Through this, the viewers of the film get to learn that on this day of her birthday, she is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. With this in her mind, she feels responsible for herself and in a position to discern what is right from what is wrong. Hayes explains that “young people need a reason to believe that parenthood is inappropriate at this point in their lives” (7).  On her sixteenth birthday, Sam expected that she could begin to live her life on an independent scale in which she could make her own decisions. Similarly, A&P explains that the age of sixteen comes with a great feeling of self-realization. Generally, at this age, a person usually feels that he can do anything with her life. This is the time where an individual can make informed decisions simply because the person cannot consult from people around her because she wants to be seen as an adult.

Additionally, the protagonist coming of age can be noticed through the experience of epiphany. In the case of the film Sixteen Candles, Samantha is expecting to celebrate her sixteenth birthday and hopes that her family will remember that it is her birthday. The feeling of transitioning from childhood to adulthood for some is a dangerous moment that most of the people would love to spend it with the people they love most. In this case, Samantha expected that her family members would remember that it was her birthday and they would, therefore, celebrate or even wish her a happy birthday. However, this was not the case as the whole family was busy preparing for the wedding of her elder sister. This not only saddened her but also spoilt her entire day. Occasionally in most homes, it is at the age of sixteen that they are allowed to drive and are even allowed to own cars. Technically, the sixteenth birthdays are usually a very crucial moment in the life of the teenager and the family members as well. In the film, Sixteen Candles, the director of the film uses the characters in the family of the protagonist to illustrate the importance of this birthday. Samantha however, does not get the chance or even a congratulation word from any of the family members. Instead, she is teased by her father about her marriage and her brother who tells her that no man shall marry her. Most people in the house are focusing on the marriage preparations of her elder sister, and this makes her angry. According to Riegel “the condition is not synonymous or identified by the cause” (134). The fact that she is sensitive at this moment is an insinuation that she is in the adolescent age and is facing emotional changes. This is an indication that she is transitioning from childhood to adulthood.  At school, Samantha feels that she is big enough to express her crush on her friends. From this, the audience learns that she has a crush on Jake, who sees her a young person that he cannot take seriously.

The growth of the character Samantha is also seen through her puberty. After confessing her interest in Jake, Samantha begins to be cautious of her appearance. She wants to impress and occasionally looks at herself in the mirror to see how she looks. A&P informs that “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents… at the top of the backs of her legs”. The first thing that she is observant of is her body shape. Out of nowhere, she has developed a self couscous self and values how she appears in front of people, especially, Jake ( Hughes 0:55).  At one instance, when she is approached by Jake, she is unable to utter a word and blames herself for failing to talk. Riegel informs that “the older adolescents express their spontaneity in the activity of self-training and self-education” (133).  At this age, most of the adolescent individuals are willing to change every aspect of their lives that they feel might be inappropriate. In A&P, the author explains that physical appearance of the girl. He tells that shw wore a bright green bra that had seams on, which that author thought that she had just bought it. Despite the insults that Samantha get from her brother about her body, she is determined to look beautiful so that she can impress Jake. Other than that, she is worried that her breasts are not big enough. She even feels jealous of Caroline; whose breasts are more significant. She has an insecurity that Jake might get attracted to Caroline who has a bigger chest as opposed to hers.  The vulnerabilities that Samantha begin feeling whether she is enough or not makes the audience of the film understand that she is transitioning from being a child to an adult. She has become not only sensitive but also emotionally vulnerable to any trivial thing that she is exposed to.

Furthermore, the growth of the protagonist throughout the flow of the film. When Samantha meets her grandparents, the two are not only happy because of it her sixteenth birthday, but they also notice the physical changes that are observable on her body. For instance, her grandmother sees that Samantha is growing breast and very soon they will be plum (Hughes 0:18). She finds this embarrassing but impacts on her that she is growing beautifully. Riegel explains that “the casual relationship in human growth are joined to the factors which accompany developmental changes” (134). The growth of her breast is an indication that she is growing so fast and soon will be considered an adult. Other than that, as she looks at herself in the mirror, it is evident that she has grown as some parts of her have gradually developed.  On the contrary, A&P describes her as an attractive individual. As at the time when she is reaching sixteen years old, she is developing physically and there comes a time that when a person looks at her, one can think of her as a lady. Through this process of physical changes, the audience gets to notice the growth of Samantha throughout the film.



Works Cited

Ariantzi, Despoina. Coming of Age in Byzantium: Adolescence and Society. , 2018. Internet resource.

John Hughes. “Sixteen Candles Official Trailer”. YouTube, uploaded by Movieclips classic trailers, 12 Dec 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGLtBJupFFM

Riegel, Klaus F., and John A. Meacham. The Developing Individual in a Changing World, Volume I: Historical and Cultural Issues. Transaction Publishers, 2007.

Staff, National R. C, and C O. Hayes. Risking the Future: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy, and Childbearing. Washington: National Academies Press, 1900. Internet resource.

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