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At his new school, Reardan, Arnold gets to know Gordy, who says that “life is a...

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slykel | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 21, 2013 at 4:39 AM via web

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At his new school, Reardan, Arnold gets to know Gordy, who says that “life is a constant struggle
between being an individual and being a member of the community.” How does this idea relate to
Arnold’s life as well as teenagers in general?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Gordy's description of the dynamic between individual and group is something that gives voice to Junior's state of being in the world.  It is also a statement about adolescence, in general.  While Junior seeks to find the balance between being part of the Native American Community and the White Community, he struggles with seeing his life as an individual and as a part of the larger element.  Junior's experience on ethnic and psychological grounds is reflective of the adolescent struggle to find balance between group and self.  Like Junior, many adolescents struggle to find a balance between their own identity and affiliation with something larger.  Group dynamics and cliques make this even difficult.  

Being able to be a part of a group and receive its validation as well as seeking to maintain loyalty to one's self is a constant battle in adolescence.  Like Junior, many teens struggle to find their place with others and themselves.  The idea of consciousness being a "struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community" is reflective of Junior's plight and the narrative of many teens.

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