An American Childhood Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Why does Annie feel confined within her community?

    When Annie is a little girl, there is something nice and reassuring about having the same group of friends around her all the time. There is always someone to play with. Contact with boys is harmless, familiar, and she develops platonic friendships. As she gets older, though, she finds the neighborhood rather insular. She begins to find seeing only the same people at every event rather claustrophobic and she also hates the feeling that her parents and other influential members of the community are choosing her social circle for her. An example of this is dance class, which she has previously enjoyed, but begins to find frustrating, because the young men and women she sees there are also the same fellow students she sees in school. She begins to feel that she is being prevented from meeting people outside of her immediate presbyterian, upper class neighborhood.

  2. 2

    What are some of the ways in which Annie begins to rebel in her senior year of high school?

    Annie has previously been a well-behaved girl, but feeling confined by her environment makes her feel very rebellious. She acts out in a number of ways, the first being illegal drag racing, and crashing a car in the course of a race. She starts to smoke and is eventually suspended from school when she gets caught; this is quite a negative turnaround for a girl who has previously had a good behavioral record and impressive grades. She is desperate to find something other that the life she is living, because she feels that it is not the life of her own design, but of the design of other people. She manages to stop the rebellion from bubbling up inside her any further and manages to turn things around enough to get accepted to college, but this is in of itself a kind of rebellion, because it is a college a long way from home, and she feels that by going far away she will be able to have more control over her own life and decisions than she would if she stayed close by.

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