The Reality of Growing Up in “On Turning Ten” and “The Monkey Garden”

Categories: Literature

Most people experiences obstacles that force them to grow up and lose their childhood innocence. In the poem “On Turning Ten” and the story “The Monkey Garden,” both characters experience the struggle of growing up and the impact that they have from it. Although both characters from “On Turning Ten” and “The Monkey Garden” do not want to grow up and start losing their innocence because they are growing older, the little boy from “On Turning Ten” realizes that he is growing up, while Esperanza from “The Monkey Garden” doesn’t want to accept the fact that she is growing up.

First of all, in the story “The Monkey Garden” and the poem “On Turning Ten” the author and the poet both mention that the characters do not want to grow up.

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For example in the poem “On Turning Ten,” the poet Billy Collins writes about how there is a little boy who is turning ten and all he can think about is how he does not want to grow up and is looking back at the “good ol’ days.

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” The poem states, “The whole idea of it makes me feel/ like I’m coming down with something,/ something worse than any stomach ache/… You tell me it is too early to be looking back,/ but that is because you have forgotten…” (Collins 1-3, 8-9). The poet is stating here that the little boy from “On Turning Ten” is realizing that he is growing up and does not want to grow up. He does not want to grow up so bad that it makes him have a sick feeling in his stomach just thinking about it. In the story “The Monkey Garden” the author, Sandra Cisneros writes about an abandoned garden that a wild monkey used to live in, and now that nobody lives there the little kids run around and play there. Later in the story, Esperanza, the main character of the story, watches as her friend Sally is being “picked on” by the boys and Esperanza does not realize that they are actually flirting. The story states, “Who was it that said I was getting too old to play the games? Who was it I didn’t listen to? I only remember that when the others ran, I wanted to run too, up and down and through the monkey garden, fast as the boys, not like Sally who screamed if she got her stockings muddy” (Cisneros 8). In this part of the story, the author is stating that Esperanza does not want to grow up. Esperanza just doesn’t want to accept the fact that she is growing up and just wants to play with the little kids that are running and jumping in the monkey garden. She only remembers people telling her that she was too old to play with the little kids but she didn’t listen. Both the little boy and Esperanza do not want to grow up and they feel like they are too old and can not do the things that they used to do when they were younger.

Second of all, in the story “The Monkey Garden” and the poem “On Turning Ten” the characters are both slowly starting to lose their innocence because they are growing up. For example in the poem “On Turning Ten,” the poem states, “ It seems only yesterday I used to believe/ there was nothing under my skin but light./ If you cut me I would shine./ But now if I fall upon the sidewalks of life,/ I skin my knees. I bleed” (Collins 28-32). In this part of the poem, the poet is stating that the little boy is not innocent anymore. When the little boy was younger he would shine whenever he got cut, but now he just bleeds. Every time he loses blood, he is losing a little bit of his childhood and innocence. In the story “The Monkey Garden” the author states, “I looked at my feet in their white socks and ugly round shoes. They seemed far away. They didn’t seem to be my feet anymore. And the garden that had been such a good place to play didn’t seem mine either” (Cisneros 21). This is the part of the story where Esperanza realizes that she is not innocent anymore. She realizes that she is losing her innocence because this is when she realizes that she can not play within the garden anymore with the little kids because she is too old. She feels as if she doesn’t belong there anymore, and that she isn’t a kid anymore. Esperanza and the little boy from “On Turning Ten” are losing their innocence because they are growing up and aren’t little kids anymore. Esperanza and the little boy are both losing their innocence because they can not do the things that they did when they were younger.

As well as the characters being similar, they are also different in many ways. One way that the characters are different, is in the poem “On Turning Ten” the speaker realizes very quickly and accept the fact that he is growing up, and puts the pressure on himself to grow up while, Esperanza does not want to accept the fact that she is growing up and is letting the external world put the pressure on her to grow up. For example in the poem “On Turning Ten” the poet states, “You tell me it is too early to be looking back,/ but that is because you have forgotten/ the perfect simplicity of being one…” (Collins 8-10). The poet from “On Turning Ten” is stating here that the little boy is realizing that he is growing up and wants to go back to the “good ol’ days.” Everyone is telling the little boy that it is too early and he is too young still to be looking back on the “good ol’ days” but the little boy thinks otherwise. In the story “The Monkey Garden” the author states, “Who was it that said I was getting too old to play the games? Who was it I didn’t listen to? I only remember that when the others ran, I wanted to run too, up and down and through the monkey garden, [as fast] the boys … I wanted to go back with the other kids who were still jumping on cars, still chasing each other through the garden … ” (Cisneros 8 and 11). In this part of the story, Esperanza did not want to accept the fact that she is growing up. She doesn’t like how people are telling her that she is too old to play with the little kids. She just ignores those people and keeps playing with the younger kids and the boys in the monkey garden. She is just letting the external of the world put the pressure on her to grow up. The little boy from “On Turning Ten” realized at a really early age that he was growing up just accepts the fact and he felt like nobody understood him. While Esperanza from “The Monkey Garden” did not want to accept the fact that she was growing up and let her surroundings force her to grow up.

In conclusion, Esperanza and the little boy are very similar in many ways. Two similarities are that they both do not want to grow up and that they are losing their innocence. Although they are similar they are different. One way that they are is that the little boy very quickly accepts the fact that he is growing up while Esperanza doesn’t want to accept the fact that she is growing up and is letting the external world force her to grow up.

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The Reality of Growing Up in “On Turning Ten” and “The Monkey Garden”. (2021, Apr 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-reality-of-growing-up-in-on-turning-ten-and-the-monkey-garden-essay

The Reality of Growing Up in “On Turning Ten” and “The Monkey Garden”

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