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Golden Boy by Abigail Tartellin

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Golden Boy, by Abigail Tarttelin

Everybody seeks the acceptance of your true self, whether it is your family’s acceptance or the whole society’s. Nobody wants to be looked different at, though we all have dissimilar interpretations of how we want the world to look at us. Some people want to stand out of the crowd while others are comfortable with blending in. But one thing is certain, we want the choice to be ours. Unfortunately this is not always the reality. Such character is illustrated as the Golden Boy in Abigail Tarttelin’s story “Golden Boy”. Golden Boy is a boy fighting with infrequent identification problems, describing how he is on the verge of losing himself due to the pressure of not being accepted.

The main conflict in the story is a young boy trying to find his true self while being afraid of what the society might think of him. There is a quote saying “’I’m half and half and you’re worried about your breath?’ I try to joke.” (p. 89) This quote paints a clear image of how insecure Max is, but also how he sees himself. Max has not found his true self, he does not know who he is and therefore he speaks of himself as “half and half”. In addition, it shows that Max not only deals with more natural sexual difficulties such as “do I like boys or girls” but much more ground wrecking “Am I a boy or a girl?” On top of that, he can’t even tell his own brother about it: “Even my brother doesn’t know…” (p.88 l. 5-6) Feeling so insecure and confused about himself, his situation not only fills up when he is frontstage but also backstage in his own home. His problem isn’t dealt with within the family “My parents never told me much. We don’t talk about it.” (p. 99 l. 43) Max is trying to find himself, in a family where it seems as he is not even truly accepted. We all aim at being able to be our true self around once nearest friends and family. therefore is this novel a clear image on how difficult it can be not knowing who you are and emphasizes how difficult it is accepting you’re own true self while having a society, that needs everything to be “perfect” and in boxes. When you define your sex in official documents, there are only two boxes: man or women? But what about those in between?

As we read the extract, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sylvie has not truly accepted Max’s internal conflict. Sylvie’s first reaction to Max’s secret is that she slowly accepts: “Max you are improbable” (p. 92 l. 15) “You're not a freak. And no girl who was really cool would think you were” (p. 92 l. 23) For the first time Max feels an acceptance of who he is. This conversation gives us a positive image on Sylvie, which Is further reinforced when she shows compassion due to the fact that he was raped. Sylvie keeps having the right response. Until Max mentions the pregnancy: “The boy I love is a broken idea” (p. 94 l. 27) Sylvie’s way of thinking emphasizes Max’ true fear – that he can never be truly accepted. Through Max and Sylvie’s conversation we learn that Max has never felt ashamed of himself (p. 93 l. 2-5) But he has always dreaded the society’s reaction to him. Working as a symbol of the society, Sylvie is the first reaction Max ever get to his secret. Through Sylvie’s reaction, Max gets his biggest fear confirmed in form of the society that will never truly accept him.

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