Social Convention

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Pages 8 (2008 words)
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If we stray from the confines of social convention, we begin to see that the distinctions between childhood, adulthood and adolescence are fragile and permeable". Discuss with reference to 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold and 'The Cement Garden' by Ian McEwan


We know, instinctively, that exposing a young human to traumatic or disturbing events can cause damage later on. However, more often than not, we are aware that the minds of children and teenagers are not as credulous and earnest as we would like to believe. Television, the Internet, text messaging, websites like, and a bombardment of information, most of it from popular culture, affect a child from an early age. The distinctions between childhood, adolescence and adulthood are indeed fragile and permeable. In fact, they have always been. We should not fall into the trap of believing this loss of innocence is a modern phenomenon. Bullying has always existed and one has only to read Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist (1838) to understand how children have suffered and have been exploited in the past. Some nave children are forced by circumstance to grow world-weary all too soon while others are born into a sheltered environment of privilege and, despite having no reason to do so, are able to use and manipulate others from an early age.
In my opinion, two factors play an important role in the speed and manner in which a human moves from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood: circumstance and character. The main difference between and the states of adulthood and childhood are life experience and the maturation of the human brain; and this is what makes the distinction between these two states so permeable and fragile. ...
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