Ali Smith's Coming Of Age

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Being a young adult is a time in everyone’s lives where they face the harsh reality of becoming a new version of themselves to fit their age. Often this change happens swiftly with occasional heart breaks, but in the novel How to be both; A Novel by Ali Smith, coming of age is much more difficult than expected for young George. The novel takes place in present day Cambridge, England where a girl named George recounts her life before and after losing her mother as well as her struggles. George’s mother died due to an allergic reaction, but George lost more than a mother. Her mother’s death became a pivotal point in her maturation because she had to explore this new identity all on her own. George began obsessively watching pornography without having her mother there to explain what was happening. She then meets a friend called Helena with whom she becomes close to, but realizes she might be sexually attracted to her. This turmoil surrounds young George as she is still mourning her dead mother which categorizes this novel as a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel. George’s mother, Carol Martineau, is introduced in the…show more content…
She never directly expresses to the reader or to her counselor that she feels hurt by her mother’s death, but it is obvious in this excerpt. In the last sentence, what George mentions is expressing her deep pain after the death of her mother. This proves that George is still grieving and her mother’s death will continue to resonate throughout the novel. She is also comical, such as, when she says that her brother is dead to the world because she is sleeping but not really dead, dead as in her mother dead. In the contrary, her immaturity does not recur for much of the novel after her mother’s death because she realizes that without her mother she is left to find answers on her

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