… and now Miguel

OM—… And Now Miguel by  Joseph Krumgold

As I read the required literature for this class it becomes more clear to me why these books are categorized as “YA Literature.”   Adolescence is a very rough period  during an individual growth and development.  As I’ve read through Seraphina, Ella Enchanted, Howl’s Moving Castle, I Juan de Pareja and  … and now Miguel it feels as if these authors  reaped the DNA out of different adolescents and replicate it to create the adolescent.  Krumgold  created this character Miguel who represents our present day adolescent.  One main issue that is present in the book  is “Social Transition.”  Along with Social Transition  comes “Identity Crisis/ Social redefinition.” Throughout the book Miguel is an adolescent who wants to make his transition to adulthood in his society; with that desire he encounters many difficulties especially with  his identity.  Miguel wants to be seen as a man, except his family still view him as a boy who is not ready to enter the realm of manhood. In  many nonindustrial societies,  people go through different rituals to prove themselves as fit to be entered into the world of adulthood (Initiation Ceremonies)  It is clear that Miguel wants to take the sheep to Sangre de Christo Mountain, which is a job considered for a man.  He wants to help bring the sheep to the mountain because he wants to be viewed as a man, not a boy anymore.  It is clear that Miguel would do anything to prove to his parents that he is ready for such a task.  The big question is why?  Why did Miguel think that he was ready for such a task?  was it puberty? was it his age? or was he simply trying to impress his parents?

I  simply believe that Miguel felt within himself that he was ready for the challenge and being accepted as a man within his community.   Dealing with sheep was the responsibilities of adults, on page 14  ” It’s only that I wanted you to know it was ME- I brought you the bags when you asked for them.”  By Miguel’s statement one can understand that he is trying to tell his father that he chose the bags, but it goes further. Not only did Miguel chose the bags he went to say that he chose correctly as in he has the cognitive skill that is necessary to do man’s work.  However the crisis is that his father simply looks beyond what Miguel is trying to communicate with him.  As the story progresses  Miguel also tries to prove that he is no longer a child by spending less time with his little brother (Pedro).  This might a result of his Sense of Identity

One other confusing thing about being an adolescent is gaining certain privileges in society, but still not given the title of being an adult.  There are many examples in our society that represents this issue like earning the right to drive at 16, but you’re still not an adult, the right to vote/serve your country at 18, but still not viewed as an adult to society.   My reason for these example is simply because no matter how much privilege you earn, there are factors that still prevent you from gaining the title that you really desire.  One example of this is at age 18 society consider an individual as an adult, but still you are not given  the right to take part in the consumption of alcohol, entering a night club, or even purchasing x rated movies.  We see that Miguel experience this problem because even though he was allowed to help with the sheep he still wasn’t allowed to go to Sangre de Cristo Mountain.   This happens even when Miguel brought back the lost sheep by  himself, and being allowed to sit at the table amongst men.

On the other hand I can’t help but thinking on a religious perspective. On page 26 Miguel is in charge of branding the lambs with ID tags, these lambs purely represents him in the sense that he tags himself as being an adult. There is one other example of how religion plays a role in Miguel’s desire.   Miguel  desires  to pursue his social redefinition of being a man by going to Sangre de Cristo Mountain represents a baptism.  On a Christian perspective, when one is baptized, they enter the water as a sinner, they are then plunged under the water ( blood of Christ/ Sangre de Cristo) and washed clean in the blood of Christ. After they have been washed clean, they are viewed as a new being.   In Miguel’s case he will climb the mountain Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ)  and come back to his differently to his society as a changed person; not Miguel, nor a child.  He will be elevated to a MAN.

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