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The philosophical position behind both stories is that childhood must come to an end, and all children grow up sometimes—often through trauma.
In “Doe Season,” nine year old Andy is pretty immature when the story starts. Her father is taking her along on a hunting trip because he says he wants her there and she wants to go. Her father’s friend is concerned that Andy is too young and too small. He says these things in front of Andy. At the beginning of the story, Andy is using her childish nickname for Andrea. At the end, she decides she will never use the name again.
And now they were all calling to her …crying Andy, Andy (but that wasn’t her name, she would no longer be called that)…
She has become symbolically an adult through the trauma or rite of passage of killing a deer and watching it suffer and ultimately die.
We see a similar transformation in “The Secret Lion,” when the narrator encounters the strange new world of middle school. As with Andy, he is trying to determine what it means to be growing up.
“And we saw girls now, but they weren’t the same girls we use to know because we couldn’t talk to them anymore, not the same way we used to.”
The narrator describes himself as feeling “personally abandoned” by the fact that in junior high there is more than one teacher. Everything is “backward-like” because the teachers are not helpful. The narrator and his friends want to know what all the new words they are learning mean, when in fact they get in trouble for asking. So they stop asking. It is similar to Andy and the deer. Each character makes a transformation after seeing a step into the adult world. There is no going back.
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