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In the novel Rattlebone the story is taken place in Kansas City. Rattlebone is actually located in Kansas City. Brown Vs. Board Of Education was also taken place at this time. One of the themes of Rattlebone is a girl name Irene who goes through different stages of maturation from the age of 8 to 18. In specific, the book describes her adolescence how she is first childish at a young age, and then learns to grow up through struggle, and finally matures as a young adult. Irene's reaction to stressful events in her life change form being childish to being the reactions of a mature young woman.

In the chapter "October Brown," Irene reacts to an incident involving her teacher with spite. At this age Irene was very childish for the following reasons. One of the main important reasons why she was very bitter towards October Brown was she had an affair with Irene's dad. In her mind she was thinking of whatever it took to get revenge on October Brown. One of the situations that came upon was October Brown was accused for hitting Hank in the arm. However, Irene didn't support October Brown and she just denied the truth to get even with her. Therefore, October Brown gets fired from the school and it shows how childish Irene was at the time.

In another chapter entitled "A Most Serene Girl," Irene first reacts to her mother's infidelity by getting sick, but later recovers. Around this time Irene was getting older and learned what the word struggling meant. A life changing event was when she visits her friend Geraldine's house, and catches her mother sleeping with another man. This really traumatized her and she went through sickness by not even attending school for a while. The students at the school would probably never know the real reason why Irene was so sick. Luckily, she overcomes the struggle and later recovers with maturity slowly in the process

Irene first reacts with fright but then with courage when she decides to apply for the Alpha...
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