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Children and Young Adults - Growing Up

            Children growing up are shaped, molded and forced to act a certain way that is acceptable for society. In the essay, "How Boys Become Men," Jon Katz writes about boys needing to follow certain rules in order to become men. In the essay, "In Case You Ever Want To Come Home Again," Barbara Kingsolver explains her childhood struggle of not fitting in with the popular crowd because of the way she looked. In the essay, "Se Habla Espanol," Tanya Barrientos explains how speaking Spanish had a negative impact on her, but not knowing Spanish made her feel American. In the article, "Like Mexicans," Gary Soto states that his family tried to influence him to marry a Mexican girl, because they thought any other race was unacceptable. Growing up, children and young adults struggle to meet the expectations set for gender, culture and class. .
             Adolescent boys are taught certain rules that are needed in order for them to feel accepted by their peers, and to learn to become a man. These rules guide and develop the boys to experience pain rather than to show weakness and fear. In the article, "How Boys Become Men", Jon Katz states, "Never admit fear, ride the roller coaster, join the fistfight, do what you have to do. Asking for help is for sissies"(317). Katz witnesses two friends walking together, one friend swinging a book bag at the other kid and the kid ducking, avoiding getting hit. The friend swinging the bag asked his friend, "What's the matter? You chicken." The kid did not want to show fear so he stood still while the bag struck him on the side of his face and proudly said "See? I'm no chicken." This displays how boys learn not to show any fear to their friends; this leads to them getting into trouble, or hurting themselves trying to seem cool to their pals. Katz says that these rules also shape boys to become emotionally distant, which leads to communication problems with women in the future.

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