This text is an extract from a magazine for teens called Seventeen. This document is entitled I'm moving out and it was written by Heather S.KEETS on March, 1, 1999. The journalist tells us the story of three girls who left home for different reasons. We must keep in mind that Seventeen is aimed at female audiences, so Heather KEETS addresses girls who might feel they are in the same situation as Rose, Jennifer or Amber who feel like running away.
The first part of the text runs from l.1 to l.34 and deals with the reasons why the girls decided to leave home. The second part runs from l.35 to l.55. It consists in describing the problems these girls met with after moving out. The last part runs from l.56 to the end. In the last part, the journalist makes it clear that moving out is a difficult choice.
To what extent can we say that moving out is a very difficult decision to take for teenagers such as Rose, Jennifer and Amber? What are the reasons and consequences of such a choice?
My analysis will be divided into two parts. First I will concentrate on the reasons why the girls decided to move out. Then, I will analyze the advantages and drawbacks of moving out. I) THE REASONS
a) A CONFLICT BETWEEN PARENTS AND TEENAGERS
Rose and Jennifer could no longer stand their parents and that's why they moved out. Rose found that her father was too demanding as she said from line 15 to 18. She didn't feel like tidying up her room, I can quote negative words showing the bad relationship between Rose and her father: (l.14) “deteriorate”, (l.15) “annoyances”, (l.15) “major issues”. Jennifer also had numerous conflicts with her parents and especially her mother. I can quote line 22 “clashed” and line 23 “rebel”. The word “rebel” underlines the fact that Jennifer felt oppressed at home. Jennifer and Rose couldn't stand their parents' ordering them about. They resented being told off. They were sick and tired of having arguments with their parents.
b) A DESIRE FOR INDEPENDENCE
Contrary to the other girls, Amber got on quite well with her parents. I can quote (l.26) “happier circumstances”, (l.31) “her father begged her to stay”. She moved out because she was offered to share a flat and immediately took the opportunity to leave home. Amber seems to be very autonomous and responsible because she has had a job since she was 14. So, for some teenagers, the reasons for moving out are either a permanent conflict at home, or just a desire for independence and a quest for freedom. But what are the advantages and drawbacks of such a decision? Is it reasonable or foolish?
II) THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF MOVING OUT a) FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND LACK OF TIME
The journalist describes the problems these girls met with after moving out. She insists on the fact that money was the number one obstacle. I can quote the lexical field of money from line 35 to 41 to illustrate the fact that teenagers who move out often have financial problems. (l.36) “money”, “pay”, (l.37) “minimum wage”, (l.39) “cost of living”, (l.41) “the bills”. So, teenagers have to work to pay the bills and this raises other problems: the lack of time and tiredness. I can quote line 44-46 “Finishing homework and waking up for class the next day became a major challenge”, line 48 “ There is little time for a social life” and line 54 “looked so tired all the time”. So, the journalist does not conceal the seamy side of autonomy and emancipation. What she describes may be a kind of warning for readers who feel inclined to identify with the runaways. Financial difficulties and tiredness are a price to pay for independence and the teenagers in the text did not regret their choice because of the positive changes. b) A PRICE TO PAY FOR INDEPENDENCE AND THE POSITIVE CHANGES
Moving out may have been the best solution. It seems they were self-reliant enough to face responsibilities and they were reasonable enough not to cut their family bonds. Rose is the one who misses her family most (l.65 to 68). Both the fact that she communicates with her parents every fortnight and her violent reaction with her friend show that she has not completely cut the cord yet and that she is aware that leaving home is not a decision that can be made thoughtlessly. I can quote line 75 “it's a lot harder than it looks”, and line 78 “It's not paradise out here”. Being separated from her parents may have made her realize that what she regarded as “major issues” were actually “minor annoyances”. With the passing of time, she can stand back and judge events better. From further away, she may realize that her parents were not that severe after all.
Jennifer also feels relieved now. She is convinced that the situation at home was so unbearable that leaving was the only solution. The fact that she gets along better with her parents now that she's left (l.66) shows that she has become an adult, she is no longer the rebel of the family who clashed with her parents but a responsible young woman who is able to have a well-balanced relationship with her family.
Amber is also satisfied. The fact that Amber is “proud that she's made her situation work” (l.56) means that at first, she probably couldn't imagine that she would be able to manage alone. Perhaps she didn't feel mature enough to live alone. She may have thought that she couldn't cope with all the problems a girl who lives alone is bound to be faced with. Eventually her parents' love and faith gave her the strength to face her new responsibilities. So, even if the journalist makes it clear that moving out is a difficult choice, she seems to imply that only courageous and resourceful girls can consider moving out.
To conclude, I would say that moving out can be a very controversial issue regarding teenagers. The reasons for leaving can be various: either a permanent conflict with the family or just a desire for independence. The consequences of such a decision can be negative and positive. Indeed, teenagers suffer from financial problems and have difficulties dealing with work and studies. Despite these drawbacks, moving out can be a door to freedom and teenagers seem to learn from their experience, playing down the importance of minor problems. Personally, I feel like moving out/ I don't feel like moving out because... ( donnez vos arguments) Ouverture: gap year, Erasmus, summer jobs etc...