Conflict in Anne Tyler’s “Teenage Wasteland”

Topics: Short story, Conflict management, Psychology Pages: 4 (1480 words) Published: September 29, 2014
Conflict in Anne Tyler’s “Teenage Wasteland”
Many of the characters in Anne Tyler’s story “Teenage Wasteland” face some kind of conflict at some point during the story. “This story shows how lack of communication between a troubled adolescent and his parents results in tragedy”(Croft 231). The story is about a boy named Donny who was having a hard time in school. In the beginning, of the story the principal called Daisy, Donny’s mother, because he wanted to have a conference “The boy’s problems do not seem serious. He is described as “noisy, lazy, always fooling around with his friends.””(Harper 1). After this, Daisy made sure that Donny worked on his school assignments every night and this seemed to be working, but then the principal called again to arrange another conference. He explained that Donny’s grade had shown a minor improvement but now he had other problems. Donny had been skipping class, smoking on school campus, breaking into lockers, and sneaking off campus during gym and when he returned beer was smelled on his breathe. After this, conference Donny’s parents decided that he would visit a psychologist to help with his problems at school. He was not fond of the psychologist at all. He believed the tests he was given by the psychologists were pointless and stupid. After some time passed, he was referred to a tutor, who also had some experience in psychology, named Calvin Beadle. At first, Page 2

Donny seemed to be behaving better in school and his grades were rising, but then Daisy received a phone call from one of his teachers to tell her that his grades had been slipping again. She talked to Calvin about this but he told her not to worry about it. Donny was then expelled from school because during a locker search cigarettes and beer were found. He was then placed into a new school but soon ran away and was never heard from. Some of the examples of conflict in this story are Daisy dealing with her son’s behavior in school, Donny’s grades...


Cited: Harper, Natalie. “Teenage Wastland.” Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
Croft, Robert W. Anne Tyler Companion n.p.: Greenwood Press, 1998. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
May, Charles E. Short Story Writers. n.p.: Salem Press, 2008. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
Tyler, Anne. “Teenage Wasteland.” Literature Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G.
Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Compact 8th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 644-650.
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