A Northern Light Themes

Jennifer Donnelly
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Northern Light.
This section contains 996 words
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Coming of Age

Coming-of-age novels map the turning points in an individual's transition from child to adult, and are often characterized by specific rites of passage enacted universally by children of a certain age within a given culture. At the turn of the century, for a woman of Mattie Gokey's class and region, the rite was most often courtship and marriage. In rural America, where households full of children were valued for the labor they could provide the farm, it was not unusual for a woman to marry and bear children at fourteen or fifteen years old, like Mattie's friend Minnie Compeau. Mattie's flirtation with Royal Loomis, the pull of her emerging sexuality, and the social expectation that her life will progress in a pattern similar to Minnie's and Belinda's make up the foundation of Mattie's emotional struggle. It is not surprising that Mattie suffers such deep ambivalence after...

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This section contains 996 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Northern Light Study Guide
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