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“Saplings In the Storm” by Mary Pipher Essay

In her essay “Saplings In the Storm,” Mary Pipher discusses the changes girls face once they hit adolescence. Through figurative language and tone her essay successfully expresses what the young women go through.

In her “Sapplings in the Storm” essay, Mary Pipher brings attention to the struggles, changes, and hardships young girls experience when they reach the age of adolescence. She uses similes, allusions, and metaphors to pull her reads into her reflections. “Just as… ships disappear…into the Bermuda Triangle… the selves of girls…crash and burn in a social and developmental Bermuda Triangle.” Pipher connects the suddenness of the girls’ changes to a mystery that most have heard of. Early on in her essay she wants her readers to realize the severity of the topic.

Pipher includes metaphors and imagery to add reality to what these girls deal with; including, “girls who rushed to drink in experiences in enormous gulps sit quietly in the corner,” “described the wreckage,” and “their voices have gone underground.” Pipher inserts a story from the Shakespearean play, Hamlet, along with a description of the stereotypical fairy tale story, in order to show how adolescence manifests itself in many different ways. Figurative language in this writing makes these continually occurring situations real and present; not just an assumption.

Mary Pipher addresses the dramatic changes handled by adolescent girls. With tone, Pipher clearly relates how she feels about her topic. Words like “dramatic,” “chaos,” and “shattered” show the writer’s mood as serious, sad, and slightly dark. She uses heavy descriptions when describing how the girls feel and change. Her tone depicts the readiness of what the young girls deal with, and how it affects the people around them. Pipher’s tone in “Saplings in the Storm” is enough to make her readers think about what some adolescent girls might be hiding under the surface. Personally this topic about the problems surfacing in adolescent girls not only made sense to me, but also surprised me. I had a lot of different, heavy things going on in my life around the ages of twelve to fifteen, so the changes brought on by adolescence did not bother me as much as it seems to have bothered the girls in the “Saplings in a Storm” essay. I was facing problems much larger than anxiety, self-image, and confidence.

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