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Jasmine Moreno

Professor Malvin

English 114 A

20 November 2017

Aging and Death

In the novel, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs writes a

fictional story about a boy named Jacob trying to learn more about his deceased grandfather and

his past. In order to learn more, he goes on a journey and travels to an island where his

grandfather grew up. There he meets Miss Peregrine and the peculiar children who have

abnormal powers. Miss Peregrine then teaches him about their world and about her ability to

transform into a bird and manipulate time. Her abnormal power allows her to create time loops,

which she uses to physically protect the peculiar children. At the same time this time loop also

allows the children to never age and therefore cheat death. Since the children cant experience

aging or the fear of death they dont have the risk of developing phobias that can greatly affect

their health. Through the use of Miss Peregrines time loop, Ransom Riggs illustrates the modern

obsession with retaining youth and the fear of death.

Aging and death are both guaranteed to be encountered sooner or later, yet they are

aspects of life that many people attempt to avoid by any means possible. People have even

created products to help slow down the process of aging or give the illusion that they are still

young. Unfortunately for death there arent any products created to prolong life. The only option

we have is to live a healthy life to expand our life expectancy, keeping in mind that death is

unpredictable. However, as we get older these are parts of life we learn to understand and accept.

Yet we all tend to have this fear of death and even aging at some point during our childhood. For
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example, children begin to develop a fear of death once they begin to understand what death is

truly. According to the Child Development Institute, between the ages of five and nine, most

children are beginning to see that all living things eventually die and that death is final and

from nine through to adolescence, children too begin to understand fully that death is

irreversible and that they too will die someday. From a very young age of five children are

already starting to develop an understanding of death and this can cause fears and anxiety. Some

children grow out of them and for others it develops into a very serious phobia that can affect

their health.

One example of fears turning into phobias is of a boy from Mexico who at the age of 14

was diagnosed with gerascophobia. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine,

gerascophobia is a fear of growing or aging. This boy was so afraid of aging that he was not

eating much because according to him food had nutrients that helped him grow. He also

developed a posture that could hide his height. Lastly, he began to alter his voice by speaking in

lower and higher volumes than he usually would. This boys fear of aging was so extreme that

he started to create strategies that would prevent him from aging and only resulted in affecting

his health. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states, if people tell him that he is taller or

older, he becomes extremely upset and cries. This shows how badly this phobia of aging has

affected him physically and emotionally. Anything that a person would mention regarding his

growth causes him to react negatively to something that should be positive. This phobia overall

has greatly affected the childs health and now he is unable to live the life of a happy and

carefree child.

Miss Peregrine, like the boy, also created a way to stop aging using her abnormal power

that allows her to change shape into a bird and manipulate time. She explains, Only birds can
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manipulate time. Therefore, all time manipulators must be able to take the form of a bird. She

also states, We who can manipulate time fields consciously-and not only for ourselves, but for

others-are known as ymbrynes. Only ymbrynes have this ability to manipulate time for

themselves and others by creating a time loop. When addressing to the time loop Miss Peregrine

states, Over and over, though our experience of it is continuous. This meaning the time loop

repeats the same day over and over again yet they continue to remember their experiences of all

the days repeated. Through this time loop her goal is to protect the peculiars from the

hollowgasts by keeping them hidden. As Emma states to Jacob regarding the hollowgasts, They

dont know where to find us. That and they cant enter loops. So were safe on the island-but we

cant leave. As long as the children stay in the loop they are physically protected and can

continue to live their lives.

Aside from giving the children physical protection Miss Peregrines time loop also

provides mental and emotional protection. She is able to protect them from the fear of aging and

death that children have when growing up. She states, We create temporal time loops in which

peculiar folk can live indefinitely. This meaning if a peculiar were to stay in this time loop they

would be immortal. Therefore, as children, they will never have the risk of developing severe

fears that could possibly harm their health thus making their life peaceful and happy. Miss

Peregrines ability is the source for the peculiar childrens protection of fears that common

children would experience.

In the book Riggs introduces this fear of aging and death through two occasions

regarding Jacob and the peculiar children. The first occasion was with the incident that happened

with Jacobs grandfather Abe. Abe decided to leave the time loop because according to Emma,

He said he was going mad here. Said he couldnt stand it any longer, and as a result he
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began to age and since he no longer had protection he was killed by a hollowgasts. As Jacob

states, They convinced me it was wild animals. But it what youre saying is true, my

grandfather was murdered by them, too. When Emma heard of his tragic death she became

really upset, She hugged her knees to her chest and closed her eyes. She didnt want him to go

because she was aware that if he left he would no longer be protected by the loop. The only

reason she let him go was because he promised her he would be safe in America and that he

could protect himself. He also promised Emma he would return for her. Unfortunately, he was

not safe and as Emma stated, I knew theyd get him eventually. She could have gone with him

eventually but she explains, I waited so long that if Id actually gone to be with him I wouldve

been forty years old. She also knew that if she were to leave she would have the risk of dying

since she would no longer have protection. Therefore, the only choice she had was to stay and

wait until he returned.

The second occasion where death is presented to Jacob and the peculiars is through the

tragedy that occurred to the peculiars friend Victor. Victor was a peculiar child with the power

of strength, just like his sister Bronwyn who was still alive. Jacob actually remembers seeing a

picture of Victor in Miss Peregrines photo album. In the photo, he is also laying in the bed as if

sleeping. Through Enoch Jacob was informed on where to find Victor in the house. When Jacob

finally arrived to the room where Victors body was laid he tried his best not to move afraid he

would wake him up. Then he held his hand in front of his mouth and realized he wasnt

breathing. Jacob was shocked and stated Hes dead. He was later on informed by Emma that

Victor was a peculiar child who, like Abe, had also left the time loop. In results to this he no

longer had protection and was also killed by a hollowgasts. The only difference between Abe and

Victor is that Abe had lived a longer life. Victors body now lays on a bed in a room on the
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second floor of the house where the children can visit him, especially Bronwyn his sister. Victors

misfortune sets an example to the children demonstrating what can happen when you leave the

time loop. Though as long as the children remain inside the loop they can escape aging and death

allowing them to live peacefully.

When it comes to aging the peculiar children are aware that if they leave the loop their

age will catch up to them and they will die. If they ever did leave what Miss Peregrine states to

Jacob, They cannot linger in your world, Mr. Portman, because in a short time they would grow

old and die, will come true. They have lived in the loop for so long that if they were to leave

they would sadly no longer be children but instead very old adults. Therefore, their time left in

the real world would not be pleasant but miserable. Though by staying in the time loop they are

able to remain as children and avoid death continuing to live their happy lives. They dont have

fears of growing old and dying and thus having no risk of developing serious phobias that can

affect their health.

Personally, I went through this fear of aging and death myself. I was so scared of

growing up because I knew eventually I would also die and lose my loved ones as well. Luckily

for me I grew out of this fear before it developed into something worse. Over the years I

accepted these aspects of life and they no longer affected me. Although if I had the chance to

have never been through this fear I would have gladly accepted it.

In Conclusion, Riggs expresses this obsession of retaining youth and the fear of death

through the time loop created by Miss Peregrine. He shows how these children are able to avoid

parts of life that most of us had fears of growing up and sadly for some still go through. Aside

from this the peculiars are also not capable of developing phobias that can cause serious damage
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to their health like gerascophobia. Overall, the time loop created by Miss Peregrine, allows the

peculiar children to live a peaceful life with no worries and fears.


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Works cited:

Moore, Elizabeth Armstrong. "Teen Boy Suffers Extreme Fear of Aging." USA Today. Gannett

Satellite Information Network, 05 Feb. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2017.

<https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/02/05/teen-boy-fear-of-aging-

gerascophobia/22920045/>.

Perales-Blum, Laurencia, Myrthala Jurez-Trevio, and Daniela Escobedo-Belloc. "Severe Growing-

Up Phobia, a Condition Explained in a 14-Year-Old Boy." Case Reports in Psychiatry. Hindawi

Publishing Corporation, 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2017.

<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4283456/>.

Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Philadelphia: Quirk, 2011. Print.

Staff, Parenting Today. "How to Talk to Kids About Death -." Child Development Institute. N.p., 25

Sept. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2017. <https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-

parent/communication/talk-to-kids-death/>.