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Smashed

In: English and Literature

Submitted By duzai
Words 956
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Smashed

A teenager’s journey towards reaching adulthood involves various obstacles and challenges. Most essential among these that every teenager will stumble upon is the quest of finding your own identity. When embarking onto this journey, it often results finding your own identity which might become evident by reaching a conclusion to an essential problem in your life. Furthermore, the final destination of this journey towards reaching adulthood can be marked in different ways, granting you an elevated status in regards of maturity. This is the case in the extract of the novel called “Smashed” written by Koren Zalickas in 2010. We follow a young girl narrating as she reflects on several events in her life, the social patterns relevant to her and most important of all - finding a solution to her awkward presence.

The narrator is a girl attending eighth grade who has been living under uneasy circumstances. This becomes evident as she describes herself withdrawing from her own family (p. 88 ll. 31-p. 89 ll. 2). This part of the extract not only tells us how the narrator is partly shunning her own family, which indicates confusion in this context. It also gives the reader the impression that the narrator is an insecure girl judging by her own description of her closet along with the usual challenge every morning regarding the narrator being unable to decide how to dress herself depending on the mentioned factors. This correlates well with the narrator being insecure as she is struggling with identity problems (p. 86 ll. 29-30).
The narrator believes that drinking will be the solution to her self-described awkward presence (p. 89 ll. 14-16). The narrator refers to the bottle being a sacra, which is a materialistic piece symbolizing a new elevated status granted to you in the completion of an initiation ceremony by being given this sacra. She considers drinking as a completion to her own initiation ceremony which grants her the status as a drinker, known as a rite of passage, which in this case is an elevation towards adulthood.

The style in this extract can be characterized as formal yet simple. The usage of contractions is limited and story is easily understood without having to look up many words. However, there are parts of the extract where this is taken use of. A given example could be this sentence “they seem to understand who they are and who they’re supposed to be” (p. 86 ll. 29-30). The usage of limited contractions benefits to the ability of the reader to visualize the narrator and thereby gives a more precise impression of her as well as the ability to interpret events unfolding in the story. It gives us a better impression of the narrator as she narrates the story from her own point of view. It is the narrator’s personal opinions, thoughts and experiences that are being expressed in this extract (p. 88 ll. 29) (p. 86 ll. 23). Having these contractions adds a less formal touch to the extract which correlates to the age of the narrator. It would easily be expected that a young girl attending eighth grade does not have the ability equivalent to a professional writer to narrate or write stories.

The story primarily takes place at a surprise party in a basement. It could only have been taken place after 1989 as the video game console Sega Genesis is mentioned as a description of the basement (p 85 ll. 5). This video console was released in 1989, hence the statement regarding the year. Another indication of this is the VCR being in the basement (p. 85 ll. 2). Judging by the description of the items available for the girls to use in order to entertain them, these girls are coming from a more or less wealthy environment. That is an interpretation of course, not a premature judgment. Other descriptions of the setting are given as well; however, those descriptions are given in flashbacks. An example of this is when the narrator gives a somewhat accurate description of her room (p.88 ll. 34-p. 89 ll. 1).

The main theme in this short story is growing up. The narrator elaborates on reasons for herself beginning to drink alcohol. It is evident throughout the story that the narrator is struggling with insecurity and is having a hard time being a girl and finding her own identity (p. 87 ll. 1-2) (p. 88 ll. 40-41). Perhaps that is why she has an aggressive and unfriendly attitude towards boys (p. 86 ll. 23). The narrator characterizes her identity problems along with her struggles (p. 89 ll. 5) in general as being in an awkward period (p. 89 ll. 5). As previously stated, it is because she considers the status as drinker as a rite of passage between the gap of being a child and to something above that with an elevated status (p. 89 ll. 14-16).

The teenage girl narrating this story considers herself having passed a self-proclaimed initiation ceremony after which she will be granted the status drinker. The narrator considers this as a rite of passage from being a child to something elevated above that. She has reached her own conclusion to the most essential problem in her life stretching over 2 years. She believes to have been granted a new identity through this initiation ceremony by drinking from the sacra, the bottle. She has found a solution to her awkward presence which involves being insecure, confused and having identity problems. The narrator has perhaps made a premature judgment call by considering the act of drinking alcohol being the solution to the processes a teenager will undergo regarding identity and reaching adulthood.…...

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