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Examining the Theme of Growing Up The nature of growing up has always been one colored by a theme of loss of innocence as childhood fantasies give way to understandings of pain and suffering where ones first responsibilities are placed upon them This is an often discussed topic in literature whether viewed under the lens of nostalgia or melancholy as it tends to be the moment where one gains understanding of the world and must cease living a life made purely of play The poem On Turning Ten by Billy Collins is one such literary work focusing on this theme as it looks to childhood with nostalgia as a time of innocence and dreams focusing on the first moments where a child begins to take steps towards adulthood The Girl a poem by Marie Howe is another work which deals with the transition into adulthood and loss of innocence although in her depiction the loss of innocence is not so great as she depicts herself as having had little innocence in her youth This essay will examine these two poems in an effort to analyze the theme of loss of innocence and transition into adulthood with the intent of discussing the melancholic light these events are portrayed in The Billy Collins poem is a particularly nostalgic poem where the author remembers the moment when he turned ten years old where he realized that he was growing up His sudden realization fills his childhood self with a terrible sadness as he recognizes that his dreams from when he was younger will not all come true The ten year old Billy Collins begins to recognize that life is not simple and the innocence he previously possessed in regards to this is no longer his and can never effectively be regained So he remembers how in all of his youth he could freely imagine himself as anything he desired yet now he begins to recognize what was simply
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