Exploration of Mortality, Sexuality, and Humanity in Ferris Beach

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Exploration of Mortality, Sexuality, and Humanity in Ferris Beach Throughout the journey of life, each person experiences events, emotions, and consequences that cannot be explained. Situations do not always turn out for the best, and it is human nature to attempt to come to some type of understanding or answer as to why things are the way they are. In Ferris Beach, a bildingsroman, or the story of a girl's coming of age, Kate Burns grapples with questions of life and death as she seeks some sort of explanation for her problems. Her fight to comprehend the events in her life are shown in her exploration of mortality, sexuality, and humanity. Death is always a hard concept with which one must deal at some point in life. Kate wonders what is loose in the world and why people close to her are taken away forever in the deaths of Mo Rhodes and her father Fred. On Independence Day, the fateful beginning of the catastrophe unfolding, Kate experiences her first adult troubles. Similar to Jem and Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, Kate moves through her innocence into experience with some obvious and some inconspicuous brushes with the adult world. As she sits with Misty observing the fireworks, she senses the troubles in her best friend. I turned to Misty, ready to ask her why her parents had left, but she was sitting there hugging her knees with her head dropped back as she stared up at the sky...there was something in her silence that made me hold my question, and instead I inched over closer to her, hugged my knees, and stared up just as she was doing (McCorkle 81-82). Kate is aware that something has gone awry but she does not accurately know what the situation is. Despite the distractions of the fireworks, her father's comments, the boys fighting on the beach, and Mrs. Poole's endless chatter, Kate focuses on the most important (though silent) thing going on with Misty. The faint hint of disarray in Misty precedes Kate's reaction to Mo's death. Kate, throughout the novel, "watches" different people and, from her house, she can see into the Rhodes's and Hucks's houses. She "watches" Misty's house after Mo's car accident and comments that Misty "...looked so pale" and that the whole family "...froze like the end of a play"(McCorkle 91).

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