Novel Puberty Blues

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The need to belong both frees and enables us. The overall desire for connection can cause feelings of sadness and joy. Belonging to a family, a friendship group or a wider community can evoke challenges and conflicts. The individual’s sense of self can be formed by their attachment to an environment and where they feel they belong. Individual decisions of what aspects of society they want and what aspects does the individual want to reject. The human desire can create environments of harm and safety. ‘The Simple Gift’ by Steven Herrick explores the juxtaposition of finding a safe place amid a dangerous time. The character of Billy and his fear and craving for acceptance enhances this. Comparable to this is the novel ‘Puberty Blues’ by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey. This novel also explores the same themes of safety, security and acceptance. This is done through the characters of Debbie and Sue.

SIMPLE GIFT PARAGRAPHS

In the novel ‘Puberty Blues’ the main protagonists Debbie and Sue yearn for a sense of belonging. The girls who are striving to become “surfie chicks”, the groupies that hang around the surfer boy gangs of southern Sydney. In order for Debbie and Sue to be accepted into the gang they have to adhere to odd rules which prevent them from eating or going to the bathroom in the surfers presence. The girls ultimately get into trouble for there wild behaviour. “Sue and I were trying to make it into the ultimate surfie gang at Greenhills”. This quote expresses the girl’s fundamental desire to belong into a friendship group or “gang”. The gang represents the safety and security of friendships but also represents the feeling of rejection. This navigates the path of self-discovery.

Both Debbie and Sue have to recreate themselves to match the sexist and narrow mindedness of the Green Hills gang in order to gain acceptance. They compromise their own values and suck-up to gang members in order to be accepted.

Set in the 70’s, the audience is...
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