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Growing up; it has to happen to everyone person eventually, or at least that is the general

idea which society has agreed upon. However, is that actually the case? Is there really some

form of trial that a child must overcome to be considered an adult? In the novel, Someday This

Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron, it stands that trying to find one’s 'self' is a flawed

concept, because the act of looking for one’s self obscures who they really are. This whole idea

of a self-discovery, or a journey into adulthood is a false ideal, for it is the present which

ultimately conveys who a person is. The change in location of a person, the personal aspirations

of a person, and the external influences directed towards a person have no play in actually

defining the character of a said person.

To begin with, the alteration of scenery location offor an individual person has little

influence over their identity. The main protagonist of the novel, a teen by the name of James

Sveck, describes the terrible experiences he faced on one of these supposedly ‘life-changing’

trips with a seminar called The American Classroom. He explains its importance through saying,

“This was right about the time last fall that I was applying for colleges, and being selected for

The American Classroom was supposedly a very big deal that would get me into Harvard and

Yale. (It didn’t).” (Peter Cameron, 41). This event was intended to shape James’ view on

democracy, leading and socializing for the better. However, the events which ended up taking

place there left him exactly in the same way as he had arrived. Even though he was brought to a

place with so much democratic pride and enthusiasm, his natureself remained the same; an

antisocial, anarchistic and rather cynical person searching for his place in the world. It is safe to

assume that the trip that was supposed to help with the self-discovery was ultimately a failure,

due to the fact that a new location has no effect on changing character.

Furthermore, how people view themselves, or who they aspire to be like in the future is
not a factor which would result in the changing of a persona. A very common example of this

originates from the notion of discovering one's self through knowing their sexual orientation. It

is commonly viewed as some form of life-changing event that is a factor in altering changing

how one views the world. While it does bring some differences, fully acknowledging whether or

not someone is heterosexual or homosexual is overall, not a quality that can or will be changed

about that person. For instance, this was a problem that James himself finds frustrating and

expresses it as such:. “...she thought if I was gay she could do something to help, like give me a

Band-Aid or something. And besides, being gay is perfectly cool these days, so why should I

need help?...I knew I was gay, but I had never done anything gay and I didn't know if I ever

would...So I was only, theoretically, potentially homosexual.” (Cameron, 192). James faces

many problems with his sexual identity, and it angers him when others, like his mother in this

example, judge his actions based solely on that. Ultimately understanding where one's heart lies

in a romantic fashion is not something which will essentially change who they are as

individuals.less repetative... and a little more specific. 'deep down' maybe mentioned.

Another example of this comes from an incident which involves James creating a fake

profile on a popular dating service for men in order to charm his attractive boss, John Webster.

When his therapist asks for his reasoning behind this, he replies, “...I thought if I could conceive

of that person and convince John that person existed, then in some way I would be that person.”

(Cameron, 176). It is simple to create a person that is find a similie or delete simply not the same

as the creator over the Internet. It is possible to form the ideal person based off of the traits that

are liked by other people. In that false world, it is easy to forget that the fantastical person that is

shown to others is not the true manifestation of the user themselves. When people try to

integrate that into personal standards? for themselves, theiery true natures are obscured their true
natures. This practice in itself is a form of self-oppression.

Finally, exterior influences such as social interactions and peer pressure are powers

which may change how one acts or behaves, but ultimately fails to change the person under

effect awkward maybe. For example, one of the largest expectations for high-school students is

to go to an excellent post-secondary school. In the novel, James is confronted by this issue as he

finds himself veering away from the concept of learning alongside people his own age. He says,

“...I've been with people my own age all my life and I don't really like them or seem to have

much in common with them, and I feel that everything I want to know I can learn from reading

books-basically that's what you do in college anyway-and I feel I can do that on my own and not

waste all that money on something I don't think I need or want.” (Cameron, 79). The future is

not all about getting into a good school immediately after graduating.; repetative It is not a

mandatory practice and plenty of other people have been able to be incredibly successful without

exprectations... education...? the use of things like university degrees. Post-secondary education

is not for everyone.

The other aspect of external sources which affect a person’s behaviour in public is the

notion of pressure and expectation. James explores his own personal issue behind this by saying,

“The main problem was I don’t like people in general and people my age in particular, and

people my age are the ones who go to college.” (Cameron, 39). Peers are among the most

influential people that can be found within a close-knit society. James’ dislike stems from the

idea that people his own age easily succumb to this sort of expectation to act and behave a

certain way amongst each other. This can be essentially compared to a person wearing a social

mask;. a Although they may have this demeanor in public, their true selves are still present

beneath it. So in conclusion, just because a metaphoric mask of sorts is in place, it does not
mean that the true nature of an individual is actually altered in the least. Self-realization in a

group setting is nothing more than the development of that social mask, not the discovery of

one’s true identity.

To summarize, the idea of a journey to adulthood is similar tolike measuring a measuring

tape; it is an act which is an inherently flawed process. The change in setting or locations, the

wishes to change one’s character, and the opinions and views of other people do not change the

reality which is that a person is who they are no matter what experiences they may face. It

cannot be denied that perspectives and beliefs change with time. However, the true self of a

person will never change no matter how much pressure or changes occur throughout life.Why?

Because they are born with it? State that to strenghten your point So ultimately, why bother

running in circles searching for something that is already there?

Work Cited:

Cameron, Peter. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You. New York: Frances Foster Books.