Responsibility for Own Mistakes In 'A Separate Peace'

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Everyday young adults are becoming mature due to the different experiences they go through. Some moments in these teens’ lives, they will need to take responsibility for their own mistakes. In the novel, A Separate Peace by John Knowles shows Gene not accepting not taking responsibility for his actions which leads to other consequences. When he finally becomes fully mature it was too late. Also, the movie, The Lion King produced by Don Hahn, is a story of Simba figuring out how who he is and his role in the pride.

However, the digital article, “Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making” by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, claims why considering the consequences of your actions is better than accepting the mistake once it has been completed. Teens should accept responsibility for their actions because it shows how they are mature. Although, it is better to consider the consequences of those actions before doing it.

There are many qualities that describe mature teens. A quality in mature teens is being able to accept responsibility for their actions. For example, when Finny proposes a double jump with Gene, Gene “ took a step toward him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny, his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest, and then he tumbled sideways, broke through the little branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud.” (Knowles 28). After, Gene does not confess that he made Finny fall and he keeps this burden throughout the whole story. Knowles gives Gene a childlike characteristic because he refuses that he makes Finny fall. Until teens take ownership of their actions they will be mature. Furthermore, Gene eventually admits to Finny that he is the cause of Finny’s injury. The text states, Finny outburst in refusal and “Phineas had gotten up unnoticed from his chair. ‘I don’t care,’ he interrupted in an even voice, so full of richness that it overrode all the others… The excellent exterior acoustics recorded his rushing steps and the quick rapping of his cane along the corridor and on the first steps of the marble stairway. Then these separate sounds collided into the general tumult of his body falling clumsily down the white marble stairs.” (Knowles, 97). Maturity is knowing when to respond, according to the situation. If Gene had admitted earlier, Finny would have not tumbled down the stairs and died. Gene’s foolishness of not owning up to his behavior is a sign of juvenile. Therefore, teens that cough up their mistakes show early signs of maturity.

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While it is a genuine quality to take responsibility for your actions, it is more beneficial if teens would think about their actions before doing which shows a more prominent maturity. The digital article, “Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making” by The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, indicates the science of teens maturing. For example, it states, “Pictures of the brain in action show that adolescents’ brains work differently than adults when they make decisions or solve problems. Their actions are guided more by the emotional and reactive amygdala and less by the thoughtful, logical frontal cortex.”(The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Amygdala is a region in the brain that is responsible for immediate reactions. Also, the frontal cortex the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act develops later. The quality to think before acting is a trait that Gene had not developed. Moreover, adolescents respond more recklessly than adults who rationalize their actions when they make decisions. As seen in the article it is written, “ Based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to: get into accidents of all kinds… engage in dangerous or risky behavior”(The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). In other words, the process of teens becoming mature, they are expected to get themselves into casualties. This can be seen with Gene when he keeps hold of his burden, which is immature. Therefore, if teens would consider their actions before doing it shows a more significant matureness.

Understanding the causes of teen maturity can be complex. Young teens will never learn to think before they act until they get older. In the movie, Lion King produced by Don Hahn is about a lion cub, Simba, that does not go back home after he made a mistake. Particularly, Simba was told not to go to the forbidden area from his father, Mufasa. But, Simba’s reckless behavior leads him to the prohibited land and gets himself into trouble. Mufasa had to save Simba and to do so Mufasa dies, Simba does not return home because he was ashamed of himself. Similarly, the behavior of Simba is parallel to Gene’s behavior since they both were running away from their mistakes. Furthermore, young teens tend to get in a lot of trouble and those that do not own up to their mistakes show immaturity. Also, later in the movie, Simba grows up and meets his father’s ghost from the clouds. Mufasa reminds Simba “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba? You are more than what you have become” (Hahn). Clearly, Mufasa knows that Simba has been running away from his mistake and wants Simba to be responsible for his actions since Simba has grown so much since the accident. So, Simba does go back to his home and takes the throne and learns that he was not the cause of his father’s death. To sum it up, teens that take responsibility for their actions show they are maturing.

In conclusion, early signs of maturity in teens is when they take responsibility for their actions. In my life, I have always wanted to be considered mature and older. But, as I get older I’m realizing that there are more responsibilities for adults and you need to take responsibility for your actions. Right now the best way for me to show that I am mature is to own up to my reckless mistakes and consider the consequences before doing so. Also, I should not have the same qualities as Gene’s so I can show that I have grown. To sum it up, teens should accept responsibility for their actions, although, it is better to consider the consequences of those actions to show they have matured.

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