Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Family Issues

By Joan F. Kaywell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger: A Study in School and Family Conflicts

Jeffrey S. Kaplan& William A. Long Jr.


INTRODUCTION

Sean rarely thought of suicide anymore, although he used to think about it often. He had ruled out an overdose of sleeping pills because he knew all they did was relax the diaphragm, and to him that was the same as suffocating to death. He decided the best way would be a .357 magnum pistol. (p. 14)

Teenagers and suicide. Not a healthy combination. But the adolescent years are a time of great pain and agony, and anything is possible. Even suicide. For the most part, none of us would want to relive adolescence--at least, not for a long period of time. In a moment of folly, perhaps we might entertain the thought of going back for a day, maybe a week, or perhaps for an idyllic summer month at favorite resort or camp. But no one, in his or her right mind, would go back for the entire duration. No one wants to repeat the pain of growing up--from the ages of 12 to 17 or 18--when life's uncertainty and hormones are in full swing. Nothing is as trying. Nothing is as complex.

Young people are incomprehensible forces. Although they might beg for saving, there is no known technique to mold one human being into an image prescribed by some adult's knowing mind's eye. Simply, these irreconcilable people are whirlwinds of imagination and strength who are determined to step to the beat of their own inner drummers. Time and time again, teenagers stand in complete defiance to their protective parents and guardians. No matter how much their adoring providers and caregivers try to help or change them, nothing happens. These defiant young souls do not bend. They merely follow their own inner directions, seeking solace in their own

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