It should be known that in every text, there is an extremely vital message. This is because it can portray information that needs to be recognized by its readers. Communication is considered being an essential aspect of any text, whether it is in poems or plays. Some of the most common methods of portraying books are language, characterization, and tone. The play by Lonergan, and the poem by Dickman, is how communication takes place. The key themes present in Dickman’s and Lonergan’s poems and games are the elements that affect young people as they progress into adulthood. The latter includes; Sexual liaison, theft, and drug use, among many others.
This paper seeks to analyze the differences and similarities of the major themes in Lonergan’s and Dickman’s works.
Analysis of major themes in ‘This Is Our Youth’ and ‘All American poem.’
Dickman and Lonergan seem to believe that in the United States, life is often difficult for the youth as they try and transit into adulthood. This is because they are faced with many challenges in their lives. It is often difficult for the child to escape from the miserable lives that they are living due to peer pressure. This scenario is present in the play ‘Thus is our youth’ by Lonergan. The main character is Warren and his friend Ziegler who are teenagers and are just about to reach adulthood. They have left their homes to go on their own, but have used different approaches (Lonergan, 2000. 24). Warren stole money, amounting to fifteen thousand dollars from his father as an act of defiance. The stolen money is to be used by Warren as upkeep away from home.
On the other hand, Dennis is lucky as his father has agreed to rent an apartment for him in New York, at the Upper West Side. Dennis and Warren encounter a lot of trouble as they live their lives, and it can all be blamed on the decisions that they have made. The road to adulthood has many barriers, such as sex, drugs, and theft, which seem to affect Warren and Dennis’s lives. According to Dickman, the youth of American are faced with many problems, which they find challenging to handle. They seem to lack proper guidance and, in turn, engage in undesirable behaviour that affects them once they attain adulthood (Dickman, 2008. 38).
Often, before one reaches adulthood, they experience many problems, and this is despite the different backgrounds where they come. Most parents tend to ignore their children once they attain a certain age. Other times, it is considered mandatory that once teenagers are about to become adults, they should leave home. The lucky youth who come from affluent backgrounds are supported by their parents, which does not apply to the poor kid. The future is determined by the actions which they make. For example, Warren and Dennis’s need to engage in selling drugs had a likely unfavourable outcome. The outcomes include being sent to jail or losing their lives due to participating in deals that are not successful. Only the present situation seems to matter to the youth as engaging in sex, alcohol, and drugs are part of their desires. Maturation is an ideal that needs to be instilled among the child as it can affect their lives’ outcomes. Dickman is interested in matters related to human existence because it gives people an aim in life. Also, the American youth should know about these extremely crucial issues to ensure that they lead meaningful lives.
Furthermore, parents, academic institutions, and the media should always portray a positive image to the youth. People will always have a passion for things, which they cherish and love. This means that the child will be captivated and misinterpret it to mean love. Warren cherished his baseball cap, and when Jessica attempted to have it, Warren felt disgusted towards her.
The issue concerning morality and values is indeed one that needs to be addressed urgently, mainly because it concerns the youth. The latter are faced with an urge to identify themselves so that others can notice them. Identity is often associated with performing evil deeds, which might have serious repercussions. The need to attain a self-image makes the youth engage in immoral acts, which undermines many American values. In Lonergan’s poem, Jessica and Dennis are aware of their nature, which affects their behavior. When the youth associate with their peers, they tend to want to show off and be recognized by others. For example, Warren and Dennis started selling drugs to make easy money and, at the same time, be known among their peers (Lonergan, 2000. 56).
On the contrary, Dickman believes that the youth should make their own decisions and always be confident. In turn, it will be difficult for other children to try and dishearten them and forge fake identities. By observing and following rules as well as being morally upright, the youth can effectively redeem themselves. Rebelling against authority should not be condoned as it can make them lose their morality.
Matters concerning sex have, for a long time, been extremely controversial, especially when it pertains to the youth. The latter seem to believe that sex is for pleasure and fun, as well as satisfying bodily desires. Money is viewed as a means of obtaining sexual favors, mainly when it is men who want sex form the other gender (Shelden. et al., 2003. 67). In Lonergan’s play, sex is extremely evident as it is a means of obtaining satisfaction. It was at the exquisite Plaza Hotel that Warren enticed young girls for purposes of obtaining sex. He spent the money he had stolen to have fun with girls, and this can be described as being a lustful affair. The human body is not accorded the respect it deserves but is instead used for other purposes. The attention and devotion it deserves is something that has been long forgotten. This makes Dickson believe that the American youth are engaging in sex before they are ready or know about the consequences. A lot needs to be done to ensure that the negative aspects of participating in underage sex are made known to the youth.
Dickman ensures that the life of the American youth is known, mostly in the sectors of personal matters, memories, as well as love matters. He believes that the United States is an extremely broken country, and most notably, it is the youth who are affected. He further believes that it is human beings’ nature to engage in acts that are not acceptable, especially when they are in their youth. According to him, this is a rite of passage that the children have to pass (Dickman, 2008. 49). More should be done for the youth of America as they are the ones who are the generation of the future. The effective use of humor in the ‘All American Poem’ has made it known that the youths have a chance of having a fulfilling future. This is because the child will be aware of what it takes to escape from problems like drugs and sex. On the other hand, Lonergan has made it clear that through peer pressure and family background, the youth is who they have become. A positive environment should be created for the child to make their future lives have a purpose and well as meaning.
In conclusion, the message being brought about by Dickman and Lonergan is that the youth should live meaningful lives. They should not engage in contrary vices, which will affect them and other generations in the future. The American child should be positive role models who can make something of themselves. From the given literature, it is evident that attaining adulthood is not an easy task; as a long, the youth still face many challenges. In turn, more should be done to make the transition process as smooth as possible.
- Lonergan, Kenneth. This is our Youth. New York: Overlook TP, 2000.Print.
- Dickman, Mathew, All American Poem. New York: American Poetry Review, 2008.Print.
- Shelden, Randall. Et Al. Youth Gangs in American Society (Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice Series) New York: Wadsworth. 2003. Print.
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