November 28, 2011
Dr. Min Young Lee
English 121 sec 28
The Coming of Age of the Male Characters in About a Boy
About a boy is a contemporary novel written by the British author Nick Hornby. It incorporates constructs of post-modern writing by bringing into focus the artists, and styles, and prose of the vernacular. The setting of the novel takes place in London in the mid 1990s. About a boy gives a unique perspective of a coming of age story. It follows the coming of age of two boys of two very different ages; Will Freeman 36 years old and Marcus 12. This novel shows the contrast between consumerism and materialism with real interpersonal connections. Will Freeman ...view middle of the document...
He didn’t notice that two was a small family, “he’d always thought that two was a good number” (Hornby 75). Marcus worries about his mother after the suicide attempt and feels like he must always be watching her, out of fear that she would again attempt suicide. Suddenly Marcus realizes that he needed more people in his life, “But he could see the point now: if someone dropped off the edge, you weren’t left on your own” (Hornby 75). Marcus comes to realize the necessity of other people, and he begins to seek out the company of others. At this point Will, however, has just entered Marcus’ life, and watches as an observer as he witnesses Fiona in her unconscious state after they discover her overdose. Will barely lets the gravity of situation enter his mind, “it had all been very interesting but he wouldn’t want to do it every night” (Hornby 71). Even though Will imagined he didn’t care about Marcus’ problems, “No problem was his problem” (Hornby 119), which was Will’s perspective in life. Will kept to his self-isolation and believed material goods were all that was necessary to a happy life.
Yet this event brought Marcus inextricably into Will’s life, as Marcus now visited Will every day after school, “But he has forgotten that he seemed to have no control over his relationship with Marcus and Fiona anyway” (Hornby 141). Will became Marcus’ first friend since he had no one at school, and Will was like a grown up boy, “eventually, when the visits became routine, Will seemed to think they should have proper conversations” (Hornby 113). Once Will makes his albeit feeble attempts at conversation, Will begins to take an interest in Marcus’ life. Will pities the bullying that Marcus endures and attempts to help Marcus and thus becomes involved with Fiona, as they both take on parental figures. The conversations, and the advice shared are examples of Will’s and Marcus’ transformation into desiring interpersonal relationship even if it is as an odd couple. The suicide brings Marcus, his mother Fiona, and Fiona’s friends crashing into Will’s life, and both unknowingly reach out toward one another, as Marcus seeks friendship and Will seeks to help Marcus.
The next experience that alters Will and Marcus is their attraction to a significant other. After Marcus, Fiona, and Fiona’s friends have all entered Will’s life, Will finds he has fallen in love with a single mother named Rachel, “Will fell in love on New Years Eve, and the experience took him completely by surprise” (Hornby 191). At the same time, Marcus falls for Ellie, a tough girl three years older than him. Will had used Marcus as a way of seeming interesting to Rachel, and Marcus came to Will for advice on Ellie. Will’s relationship to Rachel is in a sense completely dependent upon Will’s relationship to Marcus. Rachel upon discovering Will’s relationship to Marcus stated, “You didn’t make it all up about Marcus. You’re involved and you care, and you understand him and you worry about...