The Truth: A Coming-Of-Age

Joriel Ann N. Aranda STEM2

 

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret is a bildungsroman especially on the point of view of a grade sixth Margaret Simon. The definition of bildungsroman is “a novel about a person’s formative years or spiritual education”. Readers had witnessed the transformation of Margaret into adulthood just like a typical girl: her first bra, her first kiss, and her first period. But the greatest transformation was her mindset and perspectives. She finally accepts the idea of you can’t rush things especially adulthood. You must be patient enough to wait for the right time. And this is the truth in a coming-of-age story. Mostly parts of the novel, Margaret thinks that she needs to decide whether to choose Christianity or Judaism. She even tried to go to the temple, the church, the confession, to find God but she still can’t feel any connection with Him. And in the end of the story, she realizes that religion is just a social standard and she must not rush the deciding of such things yet. And as long as her and her family loves her, she doesn’t have to worry about. Though Margaret just moved to the town, she was able to find friends easily. These are Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. Her friends were the greatest influence in shaping Margaret’s personality. Nancy specifically greatly influenced her by telling her things not to do and she should do. Margaret is easy to influence because since she’s new to town, she’s ignorant with it. Until she found the truth and felt guilty with letting Nancy influence her so much. Therefore, by the end of the story, Margaret realized that not all friends are good, she must be careful with who be friends to. If this story was viewed from other else’s point of view, the story will be changed ,of course. If it was viewed from one of her friend’s view, the struggle in adolescence will be roughly the same. Yet, Margaret has something that is different from the others. Her adolescence include an issue about her religion which is not typical. Blume added this to be unique rather than having a typical adolescence story. If the story happened in the present time, the struggle of Margaret in adolescence would be pretty the same. Things about bras,boys, periods are very controversial to girls of their age in every generation. But in the time of Margaret, religion is a big deal to society which is kind of different nowadays. These days, people are more liberal when it comes to religion. If the setting was today, Margaret wouldn’t have been pressured so much about her religion. Her parents would’ve been married because it’s possible today. Laura Danker was an important role because she represents those who are being jealous by others, those who are rumored by others and not treated well. Laura taught Margaret an important lesson: rumors are seldom true. Margaret judged her easily by believing the rumors toward Laura which are lies. Margaret realized her mistake immediately and it had left a massive mark on her. Since Mr. Benedict is the teacher of grade six students, definitely, they learned a lot from him. But Mr. Benedict also learnt something from them. Like when to be strict, when to be compassionate and when to be a little of both. He learned that every student is different from the other. He learned more about his first class when he conducted his students to have a yearlong individual project. Mr. Benedict is an example which testifies that a teacher can also learn from his/her students as well. Mrs. Simon’s parents thought that Sylvia would be too much of an influence to Margaret. But the truth is, Sylvia played an important role in the childhood of Margaret. She fulfilled the role of a friend and a grandparent to her which is essential for an only child girl. She’s not forceful with Margaret choosing between Christianity and Judaism, which is good for Margaret. Margaret’s decision about keeping the secret of Nancy was a very adult move. It was right because after all, it’s better to do that than losing her best friend. However, when they grow up they can fix their flaws and help each other do that. Margaret lived a sheltered life, and her physical move from New York City to New Jersey also represents a symbolic shift: the beginning of Margaret’s growth and maturity. Though the peer pressures in her new town and at the school are oppressive at times, these happenings taught Margaret many valuable lessons. Out in New Jersey, Margaret was able to understand herself and to know now what she wants from her family.

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