“Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself” (Anonymous). Part of becoming mature is becoming less selfish. In Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, Cory grows to understand what it means to show concern for his family and community. Cory, an imaginative boy, is devoted to his family as he learns to see other’s perspectives as he is coming of age.
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Cory’s childhood is impacted by the 1960’s time period. During the 1960’s, modernization had a huge impact on the jobs that were held by the community members. Cory’s dad was affected by modernization when he lost his job and he couldn’t pay for their bills. His bosses told him “that home milk delivery is as dead as the dinosaurs” (434). Because of modernization, people were starting to lose their jobs, including Cory’s dad. Even though modernization has an overall positive effect, it also affected people negatively during the 1960’s because people were losing their jobs. In addition to modernization, there was a lot of racial tension in the Zephyr community. One example of racial tension is when “the Klan burned a cross in the Lady’s yard last night” (189). People in the 1960’s were not fond of people of color. They did not want to be around them or in the same area as them. The KKK was a group of white people who were especially extreme, and they were active even in Zephyr. This is the world Cory was living in throughout the entire book.
Having a great imagination can be a good thing, but it can also have serious consequences. Cory’s imagination gets him in trouble when it leads him to wrong assumptions. After Cory and his dad witness the car crash at the lake, Cory’s imagination starts to run loose. Cory thinks that he “saw a figure standing in the woods across the road” (17). Imagination has its ups and downs. The positives of imagination are having the magic of childhood still in tact, but on the downside imagination leads Cory to seeing weird figures. In addition to being delusional, imagination leads Cory to having wrong assumptions about people. Mayor Swope calls Cory to his office for Cory’s award for his story. Cory tells Mayor Swope, “I thought… you were trying to… kill me” (286). Cory’s imagination gets the best of him and he make assumptions about Mayor Swope being the shadow at the car crash and his imagination gets him in trouble. Altogether, Cory learns that his imagination can lead him to trouble and inaccurate guesses and that imagination can change his perspective of a person quickly. This shows maturity because Cory starts to realize that he should not let his imagination be the leading factor into who he thinks the shadow is. Altogether, Cory shows his maturity by realizing that using his imagination is good but can lead him into serious trouble.
People who are truly caring put other’s needs above their own and show their love and support through tough times. Through his relationships, Cory demonstrates how caring he is by helping others be at ease. One example of Cory showing how much he cares is when he help the community of Bruton when it started flooding. While Cory’s mom helped Nila Castile get her dad out of their house before he got drowned, Cory helped with Gavin and calming him down. Before their mothers got back, Gavin told Cory that he could not swim and Cory told him, “That’s okay… You won’t have to” (103). Cory is showing that he cares for the people of Bruton by being by their side and relaxing their nerves as they are running away from the flood. Cory talks to his mom and after she tells him that his dad lost his job, Cory tells his mom “I’m gonna try to find him” (431). Cory is showing his caring side for his dad as he is going through this tough time of losing his job and trying to figure out what their family is going to do from that point forward. This shows maturity because Cory displays that he truly cares for his community and his family and putting them in a better place than they were in before. Cory shows that he does not just care about himself and is very mature by helping his community and family through tough times.
Maturity is the transition from childhood to adulthood when people go through life experiences that will shape how they think and view the world. As Cory is coming of age, he shows his maturity as he realizes that not everyone is living the good life, and that there are times where he has to be the bigger person. Cory realizes that his friend, Ben, does not have it as good as him: “He had to live with this, and though it was a horrible thing, he was grappling with it the best he could” (52). Cory understood that other people do not have as good of a life as him and people go through things in life that are different from what he experiences everyday. Cory felt badly that no one in his class was going to the Demon’s party; so he “bought her a fifteen-cent birthday card with a puppy wearing a birthday hat on the front” (311). By buying the birthday card for the Demon, Cory is trying to let her know that there is someone out there thinking about her. Everybody else is not going to do anything, so he stands up and is the one person that goes out of his way to do something for someone else. This shows maturity because Cory is showing compassion for someone who is not liked in school. Overall, Cory is showing his maturity by realizing that he can not assume that everyone has a good lifestyle just as he does and that maturity also includes doing something for someone who does not have anyone that will stick up for them.
Cory, a visionary, is dedicated to his community and his family as he begins to recognize the viewpoint of others as he transitions from childhood to adulthood. Cory learns that his imagination can be a positive yet negative quality that can lead him to misconceptions and in a predicament that he might not know how to handle, and that it can change the way he views people around him. Cory also demonstrates that he cherishes his community and family through his actions to ensure that that they are in a better mindset that they were in before. Lastly, Cory reveals that he is growing up by showing compassion for those who do not really stand up for themselves. He also shows that he is growing up by showing empathy for those who are not living the ideal lifestyle. Maturity is learning how to not be all about oneself but to be about others.
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