Margaret Mead 's Coming Of Age Essay

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At the age of 24 in 1925, Margaret Mead traveled to Samoa to conduct ethnographic research on the Samoan culture with a focus on female adolescent’s. Her findings were then compiled into her book Coming of Age in Samoa, published in 1928. She portrayed growing up in Samoa as uncomplicated and offering “…no period of crisis or stress, but was instead an orderly developing of a set of slowly maturing interests and activities” (Mead 109). This can be attributed to their societal structure as is evident in regards to a girl’s relationship with her family and age group, with the general diffusion of authority deriving from one’s age in relation to other’s. Sex and rank is also an important determinant to how a girl affiliates with her family members and contemporaries.
It is important to note that a typical Samoan household of this time consists of 15 to 20 people related to the headman or his wife either by blood, adoption, or marriage. This household can then be broken down into 3 or 4 houses set up over the village. With this in mind a Samoan girl is not just in contact with her immediate family as most of us in our culture are accustomed to but to a larger sum of people such as, cousin’s aunts, uncles, etc. How a girl then interacts with her family is dependent on age rather than relationship in most instances. So then a young girl in a household is subjected to the authority of her elders, but she can also make use of her authority towards those younger than her. The…

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