Growing up is a great effort. Every day you have new experiences, there are new responsibilities, adults begin to make many demands. Sometimes it’s stressful! The novel of formation gives some good ideas… on how to grow up having fun.
No one escapes growth, it is a common path for everyone, of any culture, language and country. When you are a teenager the vocabulary becomes common in the “prohibitions” part: “tonight I can’t come home late”, “if I don’t pass the math test, I can’t play the playstation for a week” “I want to go on holiday with my friends, not with my parents, why don’t they understand?”. Even in the part of “new experiences” and especially “new adventures” you start to explore the world, even though the point of reference is almost always home, that also starts to move away little by little. And of course not everything always runs smoothly, sometimes the experiences are formative because they are the result of failure, or have proved dangerous. Anyway… they are useful to become an adult, and sometimes they draw an indelible line between still being small and protected and having to take personal decisions and grow up. Tom and David have often found themselves in this situation and each of them have developed into a great character. But who are they? Tom Sawyer is an American boy from the second half of the nineteenth century, a famous character created by the American writer, Mark Twain. Tom is a poor boy and lives in a small town in the southern part of the United States. He has an exceptional sense of recklessness and often gets into trouble and dangerous adventures. He even goes so far as to risk his life and that of a friend, but eventually he proves to be intelligent and able to make the right choices. He will remain reckless, but he has learned something. The novel is so much fun that it can also be an inspiration for some adventures!
Also David Copperfield, a 19th century English boy, a character created by the writer Charles Dickens, who becomes an adult by going through painful and difficult experiences, a result of being in a very strict school (very useful to read these pages and not to complain too much about today’s teachers!), to a difficult relationship with adults. As we read the novel we not only get behind the character and hope that everything works out for the best, but at the same time the story makes us question the difficulties of growing up and finding our way to talk with adults as adults. There is a long way to go, but it’s a fantastic adventure!
TO GO FURTHER
Work in groups. Each group chooses a theme to discuss together that concerns: the relationship with parents; school; relationships with friends; the desire for more freedom; ideas to organize vacations only with friends. At the end of the discussion each group prepares a short report to be read in class to the other groups. For each topic try to identify yourself with Tom Sawyer or David Copperfield and imagine how you would behave in their shoes.