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Free Journey Through Adolescence Essay Sample

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Over the Edge (1979), The Sixteen Candles (1984), 10 Things I hate About You (1999) and A Cinderella Story (2004) are adolescent that movies that have depicted the insecurities during this transformative age of a young person's life. Adolescents in these films are portrayed as insecure and encompassed by a number of problems that would be described in the old age as "perfectly normal". There are common these in these films with the central focus theme being the anxieties and challenges youths face in these formative times of their lives.

The portrayals of adolescents in the Over the Edge fail to match the Portrayals of A Cinderella story. This is basically portrayed in the way the plot develops and the deep analysis of the insecurities that face these two groups of adolescents. Adolescents in the older films are thus compounded by different challenges are compared to the adolescents in the newer films. This is because the films are set at time intervals of approximately four decades under which the society had experienced gradual growth in response to advancement in technology. In addition to the above, a deeper meaning of the social aspects of life in the current age has made the insecurities and challenges express open dissimilarities.

The stereotyping of the characters in Over the Edge (1979) is done through overemphasis on teen violence that fails to conform to the real situation and levels of teen violence. This hypes the true nature of factors that contribute to the portrayed insecurities. The stereotyping of social class is more projected in Over The Edge than any other of these films. The difference in the socially, emotionally, physically and personality development is a pointer to the difference in the manner the adolescents in the various decades are able to deal with their insecurities.


The film, 'Over the Edge" by Jonathan Kaplan has been received both positively and negatively by those who have analyzed the themes of the film. It is regarded by most people as a literature that sentimentally and gothically relays rebels without true cause.  The narratives of the film address such elements as rudeness, violence, open rebellion and insanity. Over The Edge has long been perceived by many movie lovers as a plain attempt to demonstrate the causes of teen violence and rebellion. Other movie critics however feel that this film is an historical parable and self based allegory as depicted in the in the themes and plot. The director has developed various themes in the book and that is the focus of this essay. This essay's aim is to give an argument based on the themes of this book.

The main character of the film is Matt Dillon, who is portrayed as a "not-all right" young man who is unable to deal with his insecurities. The film is a generic attempt by Jonathan to explore the options adolescents tend to embrace when they are out of order with the law. The inability to fill up their time in this Nevada neighborhood makes the young boys to turn to drug abuse, sex and violence as a way to kill boredom. As opposed to The Sixteen Candles (1984),that explores the insecurities in regards to being accepted, finding love and challenges in high school, Over The Edge is more inclined towards making use of violence and consumption of drugs to be heard. Lack of confidence and value in the lives of these teens is more projected in Over The Edge than any of these adolescent films. This is demonstrated in the lack of trust amongst themselves, withdrawal, arrogance, bullying, high levels of aggression and isolation. 

The similarities between these four teen films separated by a decade between rests on the list of insecurities the teens face in their lives. These films project the common knowledge that we all do have in the existence of a number of insecurities during these periods in life. Critics and scholars consider the tale of the Over The Edge as a precautionary tale that is meant to cushion against consistent lack of emotional support from the parents during this period.  The way of life in Nevada depicts how the theme of adolescent insecurities can be explored in a given literacy work and proceed to point how teens prefer to make choices in dealing with these insecurities. Other scholars view the comedy as an American conception of the emerging trends of parental responsibility back then when the film was produced.

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A notable similarity in Over the Edge (1979), The Sixteen Candles (1984), 10 Things I hate About You (1999) and A Cinderella Story (2004) is in their story line that brings out the how interpretation of ideas without justification could wreck havoc in our societies and totally disorganize the future of adolescents. Another common feature with these films is that they end without giving answers to a number of issues and this is viewed by some scholars as the directors' notion that human beings during this period in their lives don't always know the truth, at least by some degree of certainty. John Hughes efforts in the The Sixteen Candles (1984) differ from the rest of the films in that insecurities that surround the fear of rejection from the opposite sex dominate the entire film. The other films have moved ahead to include a number of insecurities in their themes.

On the other hand, 10 Things I hate About You (1999) has been hailed as one the best pieces in the latter part of the century because of the in-depth levels in the presentation of the teen insecurities.  The work has been aided by the convention of both Gothic and sentimental of seduction, with insecurities that surround adolescents in their efforts to gain love and acceptance taking center stage. This work differs from the rest of the films because of the complexity of its themes and the intertwining plots that does not make it an easy watch for non movie lovers.

There exists a heated argument that Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory that is based on motivation theory lays stable foundation for the understanding of the life satisfaction theory. These four films have exploited this theory in an attempt to explain the variables of life satisfaction; five basic needs have been highlighted. These basic needs in Sixteen Candles (1984), 10 Things I hate About You (1999) and A Cinderella Story (2004) consist of the major insecurities that haunt adolescents. 10 Things I hate About You (1999) clearly demonstrates that these include physiological needs, safety needs, self esteem needs, and self actualization.

Psychologists have used these five basic indictors and variables to explain self satisfaction that in turn determines the capacity of a teen to effectively deal with challenges and insecurities. Research articles and literatures abide in the fact that individuals who have managed to achieve higher degrees on the five basic indicators have expressed fairly higher levels of life satisfaction.  In respect to psychological needs, human beings behavior, attitude and mind should be positive. If this is achieved, one of the basic variables in life satisfaction has been satisfied. The formative nature in the lives of the adolescents during these periods is compounded by the desire to seek and achieve all, the fear of failure and rejection and lack of personal confidence.  Safety needs in an individual is product of health, security and peace of mind. An analysis of self esteem and self actualization both revolve around realization of one's self worth. These remain the major pointers in these teen films and reaffirm their similarities. According to social scientists, teen satisfaction is determined by several variables among which are personality and personal attitude.

A Cinderella Story (2004) explores these insecurities and points to the fact that they remain the major impediments to achieving high levels of handling these challenges.  It remains a different film form the other three because of its modern settings and has presented modern challenges that adolescents face. This is demonstrated in the applications of modern technologies and the evolving language to denote the present age in regard to the lives of the adolescents.

In conclusion, it can be said that the arguments about the works of the different directors contain both similarities and differences. These are basically in the way the films have managed to present their themes to the viewers and the extent to which they have achieved this goal. In summary, most of these films are about teen insecurity with differences arising from the deeper analysis on the specific insecurity, the differences in gender and their insecurities and how the two sexes react and deal with these insecurities. An obvious difference is the times the films are produced that automatically translate to the nature of the insecurities teen deal with. This is because the four films are separated by four decades. Such a long period of time has he factor of transforming both economical and social aspects of our lives.

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