Instructor: Haida Antolick
ENGL 199W: Introduction to University Writing
June 9, 2013
Assignment 2 – Summary of The Waltz of Sociability: Intimacy, Dislocation, and Friendship in a Quebec High School
Vered Amit – Talai indulges her readers with a commonly accepted phenomenon of Western civilization in which adolescents rarely transition into adulthood with their childhood friends through the experiences of a group of high school students in The Waltz of Sociability: Intimacy, Dislocation, and Friendship in a Quebec High School. It is assumed that peer relationships developed during adolescence are of considerable importance but only temporary. The social and cultural ...view middle of the document...
As Amit-Talai points out, and I believe any North American young adult can agree upon this, adolescents are situated in a never ending circle of requiring money from part-time jobs to support their consumerism influenced activities (Amit-Talai 237). In 1987/88, the year Amit-Talai conducted this research, the number of full-time students aged 15-19 in the Quebec workforce was nearing a point in which it would double the numbers recorded in 1975 (Amit-Talai 237). As the area around Royal Haven School was considered to be a “working-class district” (Amit-Talai 236) this statistic does not reflect the situation for any student body of any high school. In order to participate in social events, buy clothes, put gas in one’s car, and other activities, however; one must have some source of income. Many adolescents also used their wages in order to buy things such as books, school supplies, and other commodities “which their parents would otherwise have been hard-pressed to cover” (Amit-Talai 238). As Amit-Talai states, “the combination of full-time school and part-time work suggests that youth in an industrialized society such as Quebec, probably if anything, have less leisure time than do their counterparts in pre-industrial societies. They may even have less leisure time than their parents.” (Amit-Talai 237). Teenagers, therefore, have less free time to develop and maintain peer relationships than one would assume, granting the relationships made at the time of adolescence a much greater likelihood of being temporary. However, this research was conducted in the year of 1987/88 and does not reflect the evolution of technology and social networking that give present day adolescents the tools to easily sustain peer relationships. For the students of Royal Haven School, on the other hand, the only point in one’s day in which one can freely socialize with his or her peers and develop some sort of social status, is at school. This “highly structured, hierarchical” (Amit-Talai 237) fraction of most teenagers’ weekdays is packed full of condensed lesson plans, assignment, tests, and various other academic coursework leaving only a small portion for student-student interactions. And even when an opportunity for conversing is in sight, an adult in a position of authority is there to say otherwise.
“So long as students remained on school property, they were subject to supervision” (Amit Talai 240). Indeed, most teenagers are always being watched while at school. It seems that the staff of Royal Haven School even frowned upon the aggregation of many students in the cafeteria and would constantly move them along as...