The Teenage Experiences

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Human beings start their lives in childhood and proceed to develop into adults. In the childhood stage of life, individuals engage in activities that have child orientation. They tend to be shy, and mixing with other people is a little bit challenging. It happens so if the people with whom they intend to socialize are older than them. In the short story Girls at Play, Celeste Ng illustrates the transformation of life from childhood using four main characters. The story communicates that coming-of-age is a gradual process, where the individual transforms both in the body and personality. The girls are in the upper grade of education, and past thirteen years. At this stage, they know how to play around and socialize with the learners of the opposite sex. They have colors which imply different actions. For instance, Ng states “pink means kissing, red means tongue; green means up your shirt, blue means down his pants.” (pg1). They use the colors to communicate the course of action, something that is quite difficult for young kids. It is a clear indication that the girls are coming-of-age. Grace, their new friend, is also coming-of-age. Once she complained of a stomach problem, the bigger girls knew she was approaching her menses, and they taught her to use sanitary pads. Ng writes “didn’t someone explain? An aunt, the health teacher, someone? (p5) These questions were a clear indication that Grace knew nothing about menses, but she is now learning about it practically. The broader idea of this short story is criticism. The three girls criticized their friend Grace for her looks. Ng states, “From all the way across the blacktop we can see that everything about her was wrong.” (p2). This statement comes from the three girls, referring to Grace who in their opinion looked inexperienced and out of place. They criticize her dressing code, claiming that the shirt she wears is not proportional to her small body size. Her standing posture is a laughing matter to them. Ng writes, “Even the way she stands is wrong, hands clasped behind her back.” They feel that all these things happen because she does not have the experience of a grown-up girl. They even go an extra mile to criticize the work that she does and try to picture him with his full work attire. The characters in the story remind me of my teen years. From the age of thirteen years, my friends and I always felt some sense of heroism, based on the fact that we felt like adults. The same case happens to Grace, whose interaction with the other girls opens her eyes and mind to the teenage life. Ng states “Each of us steals something, to show her how.” (p4). The girls are training Grace to steal items from the drugstore, and how to hide them in their bodies to avoid any possible searches. Later, they train her playing the game they play with the boys, and they do not follow up what happens between her and the boys when they leave her with them at the flagpole. “We turn away then, and close our eyes so that we never know if Grace follows them to the bleachers or not.” (p6) It reminds me of the things we used to do during our teenage years, and some of us had to learn it the hard way. The experiences opened our eyes to see more new things.

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The Teenage Experiences. (2018, Dec 17). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from
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