The Story of Initiation

The story of initiation tends to select a phase of a character's initiation: Often it ends after presenting the shocking effects an experience has on a younger child (= tentative initiation, as in ANGUS WILSON's, Raspberry Jam, 1949, or GRAHAM GREENE's, I Spy, 1970). Or it presents an adolescent's passage into maturity during which the young person is able to discover his or her self.

In literature, this process may be presented as a journey of initiation. Bridges, rivers that have to be crossed, and journeys constitute the imagery used to represent the initiation process as a rite of passage from innocence through experience to maturity.

Further examples

  • NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, Young Goodman Brown (1835),
  • SHERWOOD ANDERSON, I want to know why (1919),
  • ERNEST HEMINGWAY, The Killers (1927),
  • BERNARD MALAMUD, A Summer's Reading (1950),
  • JOHN UPDIKE, A&P (1961), Pigeon Feathers (1961),
  • WILLIAM MELVIN KELLEY, The Only Man on Liberty Street (1964).

Stand: 2010
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