How Out of Marriage Parenthood Greatly Affects Maturity
Premarital sex described and depicted by Johnson’s novel affirms the first goal of adolescence enumerated by Simpson. The inevitable changes and development of teens’ bodies establishes sexual identity thus motivating romantic and sexual relationships. Bobby and Nia who are lovers in the story were faced with a challenging situation. Nia got pregnant as a result of premarital sex at a very early age. Despite their sense of competitiveness and restlessness as teenagers, the temptation brought by flesh and accumulation of sexual identity trapped them into unexpected consequence of premarital sex– pregnancy.
The second goal of adolescence can be manifested when the couple considered a lot of options after learning about the pregnancy. They constructed principles on how to get away from it. Both are afraid with the possibilities and the consequences of pregnancy. They have the options: keeping the baby, adoption and abortion. But they followed their intuition to do the right thing. In their challenging circumstances, they were force to make a complex and hard decision making.
Since the story is narrated in the point of view from the perspective of Bobby, a teenage African American, the development of the character is clearly depicted. The novel narrates the life before and after having a child. This is basically a story of how a 16 year old single dad is being transformed as a more mature and understanding person. Most people perceive out of marriage pregnancy especially for teens as disastrous. Its consequences may affect the parents’ future. However for Bobby, his experience of being a father trapped him to a total ownership of the responsibility which drastically changed his life. He was a loving father who adores his baby more than anything else. The hour and hour tribulations and joys of caring for her new born baby helped Bobby to accumulate new skills in terms of conflict resolution and problem solving. Bobby has no choice but to be responsible and initiative on how to solve problems. The number three and number four goals of adolescence applies here.
Bobby is described to be restless and impulsive in the first part of the story before his girlfriend’s pregnancy. However being a young and unprepared father made him experience complex emotions such as confusion and fear of the unknown. As a result, he became matured emotionally that made him think in a wider perspective. He became more accustomed to meaningful values and belief systems as his guide to raise his daughter. He unconsciously understood those principles that were strange for him before.
His experience as a father gave him a more sense of meaning in terms of identity and individuality. He created a profound relationship between him and the child that motivated and inspired his very existence. Ultimately, Bobby learned to be more compassionate in terms of human relationship because of his sense of connection to his daughter. Through being a father, Bobby as the main character obviously achieved the goals of adolescence enumerated by Simpson.
Johnson, Angela. “The First Part Last”. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.