Childhood In Megan Abbott's The Cheerleaders

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The not so seamless transition from girlhood to womanhood. A high school noir is born from Megan Abbott, set in a modern day suburbia. With little more adult supervision than Lord of the Flies, young cheerleaders influenced by their new coach, writhe hastily into woman hood. A story littered with deep symbolisms of friendship,trust, envy and drive, all wrapped up in sexual connotation and an itch to be more. The story is told from first person perspective of Addy, the second in command to the captain of the squad, Beth. From first glance, the importance is masked by youthful bliss, but as it develops the reader is drawn into the perspective of the young minds, thirsty for life, exposing deep meaning and a web of surprisingly complex intellect…show more content…
She deviates from the standard model of the perfect, blond, rule abiding “cheerlebrities” and shows the individuality behind the mask. Describing the difference between her depiction, and what you might call Hollywoods, of a cheerleader: she aims, “to portray the cheerleader as she is - with all her attendant ambition, anger, longing and fearlessness” (Abbott ny times). What Addy feels is not simply the result of free time between activities, it is a deep internal struggle, which helps her to realize her ambitions. She creates a character emulating the truth behind the conceptions, that says there is more to the struggle than silly high school drama. A character that “says not just “Look at me” but “Look at what I can do”” (Abbott ny times). Abbott shows a character bored with the stereotype, sick of being confined by mediocrity, and further a character willing to stand up, and be more than what is expected of her. While this, noir rich view grants a power to the character in the face of boredom, like any sickness there are symptoms and side…show more content…
beat in her so hard... her own creeping boredom” (Abbott 197). Unlike Addy Beth does not see it as challenge to be overcome. While coach strives take the girls farther than simply sex appeal, to show them they can have talent as well, Beth shows the effect of her surrender to boredom: “So we’re not an ass-shaking pep squad?... If I wanted to be an ath-lete… I’d’ve joined the other dykes on field hockey” (Abbott 43). This quote is taken from a point when Beth has lost her spot as captain and her desperation becomes apparent, and any sense of individuality is masked as she loses the battle to boredom. Beth says something true, for all of them: “I am sick of every one of you… Sick of everything and everybody” (Abbott 72). While they all feel this sickness it affects them differently, and the characters who chose to use it to drive themselves such as Addy, are clearly rewarded while characters like Beth, who let it curdle their outlook, who give in find no reward, no solace in surrender. This proves that the boredom they face is no joke. In a way we are supposed to feel sympathy for people like Beth, who lose innocence and wonder so early on. Abbott speaks of this loss in an interview, how the wonder: “would go away for Beth—I meant that to be sort of the saddest thing in the world...that’s one of the most defining features of growing up” (Abbott of routines, rival). However it

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