Ferris Beach: Automobiles and Motorcycles as Symbols

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Ferris Beach: Automobiles and Motorcycles as Symbols During adolescence, one makes a transition from a child to a young adult. It is common for an adolescent to be confused and frustrated with new ideas regarding morals and beliefs. People, places, and experiences teach adolescents about life and how to handle different situations., and the environments of the individuals become instrumental for their development. In the novel Ferris Beach, Jill McCorkle provides an example of the learning process of an adolescent girl in the 1970's. Kate Burns accepts the changes of a shifting South and eventually embraces a change within herself. In McCorkle's novel, cars and highways provide an index for understanding the new changes in the South. At this time, cars became possessions of most families and the automobile's prevalence sparked many changes for adolescents in America. McCorkle uses the car in her novel as a "vehicle" for Kate Burns to learn about life and growing up. The car was first considered a common household item in the 1970's, which signified a sizable change in American life and increased opportunity for all people. One major change made with the increase in cars was the building of roads which McCorkle notes, "...Mrs. Poole rented out Brown's Econo Lodge on Old 301, which had gone bust with the building of I-95" (McCorkle 35). The process of the old Econo Lodge being torn down and replaced by the new road calls for a lot of physical changes. The destruction of the Econo Lodge is comparable to Kate losing her girlish attributes. As the new road is being paved, Kate's figure is maturing and taking on a more womanly shape. Most people enjoy knowing they have security in a situation and dislike periods of transition. Therefore, when towns across America experienced the construction of roads, citizens were anticipating and impatiently waiting its completion. Kate possess a similar attitude regarding the culmination of her adolescence. She longs for this growth to reach finality and hopes that she will someday appear as womanly as Angela, "...so young-looking and glamorous in her two-piece sparkly gold suit right below her navel (16). The building of I-95 increased opportunities for those with cars. Distances between cities seemed shorter and many consumer goods became widely accessible. The ability to travel on modern roads allows Kate and her dad to make the trip to Ferris Beach.

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