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People’s aging is a complicated process which no one can actually avoid as it tackles not only physiological aspects but also psychological. With each coming year a person comes closer to the end of his or her life as well as gains more experience and, correspondingly, changes. However, not all years are as problematical as those of adolescence: Depressive mood, emotional instability, inability of teenagers to understand their role and trying to figure it out and assert it in their own still childish, but already also adult ways: Mixing together the knowledge from childhood with the supposed rules of adulthood which they either get from the parents or from the peers who are staggering through the same phase. During my times of adolescence I did many things which seemed challenging for my family. Probably, it was not as difficult for me to enter the new stage in life as for the main protagonist, Esperonza, of “The Monkey Garden” by Sandra Cisneros who found it too confusing to leave behind her past and start leaving in a new present. I will tackle the most challenging moments of my life and compare them with Esperonza’s story.

I observed how greatly the thoughts of my adolescent period influenced my future decisions. The ideas and beliefs of that time shaped my personality and character a lot. Many of the things I learnt were erroneous, but to correct is always better than to never recognize your mistakes. I cannot say that my personality did not change over the time, as going through daily tasks made me overthink many of the concepts which I believed. However, the main ideas that came up into my mind during adolescence still lead me through life. The early stage was marked by the completely childish games and preferences. Me and my friends were about the same height and weight as well as psychological growth (with an exception of one girl who was quite tall for that age), therefore, we did not have to go through something Esperonza experienced when her friend Sally recommended her to flirt with the boys, when the girl could not even imagine doing such an adult “˜wrong’ thing.

Our company also used to play in the small garden of one of the guys at that time, however, I cannot state that we had such a strong attachment to it as Sandra Cisneros’ character had, for whom the garden was a place to hide from the changing reality which did not appeal to her at all and made her only disillusioned and ashamed (what once again indicated her growing up, as children rarely would be ashamed in such cases). Talking about conflictive moments we had the first thing would be certain was segregation between girls and boys. I remember how the reactions of the two girls we had in our company changed when we would touch them or tell something rude or not quite pleasant to hear as a joke. Moreover, the girls seemed to reveal a certain wish to spend less time with us and they did not find climbing the trees or playing into mud-balls that fun.

The author uses a lot of symbolic images in her book: many objects from the garden, which aim at reflecting the reality remind more silent and difficult for children to notice. However, the older they become, the more attention they pay to all those weeds, abandoned cars or wood that is half-rotten. Esperonza tries to hide in this garden and in the same way these objects are hidden there: She wants to keep away from the adult life that unexpectedly started haunting her. Unfortunately for her, the world of childhood is becoming imaginary, and the reality opens up its embrace for her with the understanding of what is going on. Being a teenager, I did not have to be that confused and reluctant to start a kind of a new life at that time, quite the opposite — I longed for it. My parents often told me, when you would be older, you could do that and that. Therefore, becoming an adolescent, meant to obtain certain privileges for me which I did not have the right to use before. I could stay longer with friends, dress more the way I wanted (already in the early years of adolescence, the appearance became very important for me and I was, frankly saying, annoyed a lot when my mother was trying to tell me what and how to wear or bought me clothes without asking me what I wanted), and played more serious games. Being a teenager I wanted everything to be in my own way: beginning with outfit and ending with right for own privacy which became quite painful for my parents. Language, food choices, media, outfit, hobbies and recreation it all makes up the youth culture. Teenagers usually reject the traditional ways and try to come up with the own, according to the social groups in which they spend the majority of their time.

Adolescence is definitely a problematic period in the life of already not children, but still not adults. The most crucial part in this transfer stage play those who are the closest — parents, family, friends. The more support children receive from them, the easier it will be for them to overcome the challenges of the grown-up life. My parents gave me enough information on the topic so I would not do stupid mistakes which teenagers often manage to do, falling in for drugs, alcohol abuse, early sexual intercourse, or aggressive ways of self-assertiveness. Unfortunately, Esperonza did not have such support and understanding from those who were around her, and even her best friend seemed to betray her because no one told her that it was normal to flirt with the boys or to play kissing game. Therefore, the most important lesson that I got from those years was not to be afraid to ask, and if one day I would have children, I would try to give them as much needed information, as possible (as my parents did for me) in order for them to be informed about the challenges the adulthood has for them. To be friends with your children is the best help for them.

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