Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Identity Issues

By Jeffrey S. Kaplan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Sexual Identity: M. E. Kerr's Deliver Us from Evie

Rita G. Drapkin and Lynne B. Alvine


INTRODUCTION

The seniors are out to get you. They call "SOU-weeee! Pig, pig, pig!" at you, and they put you in a trash can, tie the lid with a rope, and kick you around in it. . . . That happened to me first thing in the morning. I was a transfer junior from Duffton. Then, in the afternoon, a few got me by my locker. They read my name on the door, PARR BURRMAN, and one of them said, "Hey, we know your brother. What's his name again?"

" Doug Burman," I said.

They said, "Not that brother! Your other brother."

"I only have one brother," I said.

They said, "What about Evie?"

Then they began to laugh. They began to say things like "You remember him, don't you? Doesn't he live with you? Sure he does! The Burrman brothers: Doug, Parr, and Evie!" ( Kerr, 1994, 1)

For most teenagers, nothing could be worse than not "fitting in" with the group. Perhaps the inherent conflict of trying to discover one's identity and still be like others creates turmoil for many adolescents. Depending on the individual, conforming to family or societal standards may be more or less difficult. The families and communities in which adolescents live may vary in their levels of openness toward differences. With many aspects of teenage life, there is often a broad range of what is acceptable. Not so with sexual identity.

In the United States, as in most of the world today, heterosexuality is

-39-

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