Rite of Passage in America Today

When someone says rite of passage, what they might think of is a child becoming a woman or a man. The dictionary says that the rite of passage is “a ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative of a transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood. ” (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2005) When an adolescence transition into adulthood several changes occur in this process slowly transforming them from a child, to a young woman or man then adult hood.

This is a process that everybody goes through once in there lives and to some cultures this process is a very important process of life. In some cultures the rite of passage are celebrated with the complete entire family, in others family and friends, most American cultures do not celebrate the rite of passage. High school graduation in American cultures can be known to be one of the greatest rite of passage. The days and even months prior to graduation signify the end of ones high school days, the end of their childhood and entrance into adulthood.

By the time most adolescence graduate from high school, they have already become an adult. They are able to purchase cigarettes or tobacco and lottery tickets. Along with this freedom of adulthood also comes entrance into clubs, the right to vote, and no longer having a provisional drivers license. The graduation ceremony also signifies the release of the adolescence in to adulthood in out into the real world.

Before graduation, most children live at home with family or guardian. Their sole responsibility is to remain in school, achieve passable grades, and in most cases prepare for college.

Food, clothing and shelter is provided by the adult in the home usually with little to no help financially from the child. Once a child achieved their diploma and graduated from high school, expectations of that child increase. Two great examples of high school graduation signifying the importance of a rite of passage is the movie America Pie and I love you Beth Cooper. America Pie is about 5 adolescent males who are about to graduate from high school and realize they have not accomplished what they wanted during their 4 years in high school. They want to loose their virginity, attend parties, and be remembered.

In the end, the boys come of age, go to prom, attend parties and most important, realize who they are and to be proud of their adolescence. I love you Beth Cooper similar. The movie is about a boy( shy and timid), who never told the girl(popular) of his dreams how he felt. He attends the final party on the night of graduation and is give the opportunity to express his feelings. He soon finds out that she is not the person he thought she was and that they are more similar then he thought. In the end, he discovers himself as does she and they go on with their lives.

Graduation and the time leading up to the ceremony remind adolescence that the end is in sight. In both movies, the the characters want to prove themselves for the end of high school. They want to experience what they think to be the end of fun and beginning of the real world. The ceremony of graduation symbolizes many things for many people. Most important and significant is the accomplishment of completing ones childhood and entering into adulthood. Whether their high school years were good or bad, graduation is an important rite of passage to experience.

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