This chapter studies the popularity of the coming-of-age genre in the United States. It shows that this genre is partly a symptom of the abiding fascination of the Americans with the idea of innocence, and allows writers to study the historical circumstances that have separated their protagonists from a mythical, imaginary, or nostalgic innocence. This chapter concludes that the coming-of-age genre will always be used by American authors who are searching for a narrative voice that can be used as a vehicle to express social disaffection and to offer critiques of various forms of American socialisation.
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