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RBrunea
Registered User
(11/27/06 7:24 am)


Stories for an angry young man
I'm a single mom of four, ages 11-18, and I'd like to do something special for them for Christmas. I thought I'd find a story - fairytale or otherwise - for each of them, write the story in my own words and give them each insights/inspirations from their story that they can apply to their lives. The idea is to highlight their strengths and give them a kind of guiding vision for the coming year.

Three of my children are girls, so I don't expect to have any problem identifying their stories. My son is seventeen and fatherless. In fact, he despises his father, who has failed him. I have trouble teaching him to be a strong, good man rather than the macho jerk he seems to be settling for these days. Does anyone have suggestions for stories/books for an angry but extremely intellegent young man with tremendous potential that might give him a better vision of manhood than that of our popular culture? Thank you so much.

Rhonda

Gardner Productions
Registered User
(11/27/06 7:02 pm)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
That's a really great idea.. I can't really think of anything except Beauty and the Beast.. where the prince was so vain that he wouldn't let the old hag in and then she transformed him into a beast, he had to make a girl fall in love with him while looking like a monster. He learned to change his attitude and fell in love. That's thebest think I can think of, if I come up with something else I'll let you know!

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(11/27/06 8:15 pm)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
What about one of the many stories from the Andrew Lang books where the youngest son succeeds at a quest when his older brothers have failed, because while they were rude and selfish, he was kind and shared his food and suchlike?

Gardner Productions
Registered User
(11/27/06 10:12 pm)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
Or the prodigal son story from the bible

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/28/06 3:46 am)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
[[ My son is seventeen and fatherless. In fact, he despises his father, who has failed him. I have trouble teaching him to be a strong, good man ]]

Did he like the first STAR WARS movies? :-) You might look at Joseph Campbell's books about similar myths and find some stories that would be new to your son, but related. Some were about boys with no father, but one type of story to search for would be 'father was a bear', or such key words.

In many of those the father was good, just absent. I don't know where Lucas got the father as villain who must be fought.


RBrunea
Registered User
(11/28/06 5:46 am)


Angry young man
Yes, you're all helping the rumination. Thank you! Luke (my son, not Skywalker) isn't much into Star Wars, but that reminds me how he used to love LOTR. He has several quest-type games that he really loves. Also, he's joined the army, so in July he'll literally be going off on a real manhood-initiation-quest journey. I'm a Christian, but he's rejected God recently with a "You believed, Mom, and look where it got you!" attitude. So he's mad at God, too, which may have something to do with his father's failure to even be a decent man. (He has mental difficulties, has abandoned us several times, caused us to scramble o survive most of their growing up years and made us live with a lot of fear. We're divorced now, just so you don't think I'm a complete sadist.)

Anyway, Luker's father is an embarassment to him. The worst part for Luke is, his dad is unapologetic, pompous, tends to blame his faults on others and really won't even do the things he could do for his kids, even with occasional limitations - like work, for example. Hence, the anger. But since he's also mad at God, I think the prodigal son might strike him as preaching. The beast might be a possibility, since he really became one for awhile but now shows signs of wanting to be a prince.

I was trying to think of a character or scene from LOTR to focus on. Frodo is the obvious choice, but I'm not sure he'd connect personally with a character he probably now thinks of as a wimp - too short and introspective. (I told you he's big time into being macho, and there's no one to show him how to be a real man.)

Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm sharing a little more in case it stirs up a new idea for someone. It's still in the gelling process up there in the old gray matter, so I'm very open to other suggestions. Thanks again!

Rhonda

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/28/06 2:16 pm)


Re: Angry young man
Let's see, a story of joining an 'army' of good comrades going on a good adventure.... What about something from Greek literature? Maybe about Aeneas, who left home with his comrades after the fall of Troy to search for a place where they could all make a new city. Or the quest for the Golden Fleece?

There are certainly plenty of comrades/quest stories used in Fantasy Role-Playing games! That might be a good thing to get him interested in; a wholesome pastime in the barracks.

dlee10
Registered User
(11/28/06 2:17 pm)


Angry young man
My son is 16. Was very into LOTR. His favorite character is Sam Wise Gamgee, Frodo's friend and gardener. Sam was percieved as the slow but he was the real hero of the story. He was the only constant in Frodo's life. He kept Frodo going, on task, was loyal to a fault and saved the ring from falling into the wrong hands when Frodo faltered. I think he is an example of how you don't have to be macho to be brave and heroic. A lesson a lot of young men could stand learning.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(11/28/06 8:12 pm)


Re: Angry young man
Eh, but Aeneas was no prize when it came to behaving decently, what with sneaking out on Dido and the rape of the Sabine women. Nor is my beloved Odysseus, unfortunately.

I happen to be a big fan of <i>Star Wars</i>, and a guy could do worse than emulate Han Solo, but that doesn't help. What about Aengus, an Irish hero/possible god? Or maybe Thomas the Rhymer--a less violent man you'll rarely meet in folklore. There's also the Norse Loki, who's a bit of an ambiguous character. Like most tricksters, he's neither entirely good nor entirely bad, but one thing he isn't is macho. He is bound, but not forever. There's also Prometheus, who is tricky and brave and brings fire to the world--he is of course punished for it, but where would we be without him? Or, hey, speaking of tricksters, Hermes is definitely one of the best Greek gods, and not really very macho either.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(12/1/06 3:44 pm)


Re: Angry young man
Another thought: what about Sir Gawain, specifically regarding his marriage? He is honorable, self-sacrificing, and thoughtful. Not a bad guy.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(12/1/06 6:59 pm)


Re: Angry young man
From 'macho jerk' to non-macho might be too big a step all at once. What about some tales with non-jerky, good macho for a good cause? Russian tales where a prince sets out to rescue a princess from a dragon, some Medieval romances....

dougiec29
Registered User
(12/6/06 11:49 am)


Iron Hans
I don't know if he thinks that he is already "grown-up", but I am a couple years older than him and still enjoy stories about a young male protagonist becoming mature. One I read recently was Iron Hans (also called Iron John sometimes). The main character leaves home and finds a mentor in a giant named Hans. In some versions the father of the protagonist has died. Check out "The Man of Iron" on youtube.com (it's split into 3 videos about 8 minues long).

Also a general note - even if he doesn't fully appreciate your gift when you give it, I think he will appreciate immensely later in life.

RBrunea
Registered User
(12/9/06 6:01 am)


Angry young man
Thank you everyone for all your help! And Dougie, I think you're right about his appreciating it more later on. All the ideas helped in the search. The comment about not straying too far from macho helped especially, and the idea to look at Nordic tales.

I think I found a good one for him - Beowolf. Luke loves the movie "The 13th Warrior", which I understand was somewhat based on Beowolf. I haven't read it for years, but I think it has enough manly (and virtuous) violence to satisfy him, the whole companions-at-arms thing and I seem to remember it being a heroic tale with noble principles. I got him a copy of the story with the old translation and a side-by-side newer translation for help with the antiquated words, which I think he'll love because he's a very intellegent kid. (Worked on learning Tolkien's elvish for a whle, just for fun.)

Thanks again, and blessings to all.

Rhonda

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(12/9/06 11:07 pm)


Re: Angry young man
Beowulf, good idea! That reminds me of something else, an old paperback named SILVERLOCK. It's wonderful, a modern young man wandering around in a country where all the old hero stories are true, meeting all the old heroes in the middle of their stories. Beowulf was one of them, there might be some bits worth using -- but anyway the book is wonderful, and would be perfect to go along with the story you are preparing, whatever story you use. It's an introduction to honor, to classic literature, to poetry....


Troy Patterson
Registered User
(1/16/07 4:46 pm)


Re: Angry young man
I feel for your son. Perhaps this goes without saying, but the best books in the world will not replace a positive, loving role model.

The problem is that without the real world experience of such a role model, his subjective perception (nevermind the resentment) of such works will be of questionable value.

Don't get me wrong, I know your awareness of the issue and desire to help him is extremely important. And again, perhaps this goes without saying, but one of the issues many "fatherless" young men suffer is an unspoken contempt of males in general, from the women in their environment.

I'm not suggesting this is the case in your household, but I wanted to put it out there because I see it played out nearly every day in most household's of divorced parents.

Best wishes,

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 1/19/07 1:08 pm
RBrunea
Registered User
(1/29/07 4:45 am)


Re: Angry young man
Dear Troy,

You made me stop and consider. Thank you for your thoughts. It has been a great sorrow to me that Luke hasn't had a father he can respect. And, of course, that's important for my girls, too. Fortunately, I come from a close and loving family with many wonderful men, whom I adore, although they're not all men I would prefer to have him emulate in some of their choices. Oddly, I'm hoping that his time in the army (starting in July) will provide him with positive models. Thanks again to all.

Rhonda

beautifulstars
Registered User
(1/31/07 10:00 am)


Re: Angry young man
I have been following this thread, but, up until now, didn't feel I had anything constructive to add. But, today, I sat down and read a book from cover to cover that I sincerely think would be just the thing for your son.

'The Book of Lost Things,' by John Connolly is an enchanting book, just venturing far enough into the dark elements of fairytales and human nature to make it a book slightly mature for anyone under the age of 15. It is about a boy, David, whose mother has died, and who is very angry with his father, his new stepmother, and stepbrother. He is starting to nurture dark things in his heart, when he finds himself in a fairytale world where the heart of another angry young boy has created monstrous things that David must face. Of course, along the way, he must decide whether to give into his own anger or become a man who can forgive, protect those who are weaker, and find strength in himself. It sounds like a trite, overdone plot, but it manages to be so surprising, weaving elements of well-known fairytales such as Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel with the realistic portrayal of a young boy simply trying to overcome his own loss. Along the way, he meets several male figures who challenge his ideas of what it means to 'become a man.'

I would definitely reccomend it for your son. In fact, I can think of several of my English students who I intend to reccomend it to.

RBrunea
Registered User
(2/2/07 6:02 am)


angry young man
Dear Beautiful,

Thanks! Sounds like one I'd love, too. I'm ordering it from the bookmobile today.

Blessings,

Rhonda

Laughingwriter
Registered User
(9/12/07 10:28 pm)


Re: angry young man
"I was trying to think of a character or scene from LOTR to focus on."

Faramir is a good choice. He had some issues to work out with his father... He is strong and mature and works hard. If he seems like he's too much of a suck-up to his pa or something (I've heard all the lies!) go to Boromir.
There's something to be learned from both of them.

There's also Parzival, from ancient mideveal literature. He had a lot of stuff to deal with and made some pretty huge mistakes and had to account for them....

anyway, I'd look into those if he doesn't go for Beowulf.

-Molly

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(9/13/07 8:15 pm)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
Some fairy tales for such a situation might include Iron John, The Hairy Man, or Guerrino and the Savage Man

Van45us
Registered User
(9/14/07 12:15 pm)


Re: Stories for an angry young man
I second Faramir - good choice. Boromir, too, as he struggles through personal and internal problems, only to sacrifice himself for good. Of course, he dies, so that might not be a good choice. Still, the idea is there. I also agree that Book of Lost Things is a great coming of age story.

I would also recommend The Oddyssey and The Iliad by Homer. For some reason, young people really get into these stories, especially if they read the modern language versions. They can read the original verse later as an adult. These are full of all the things he will be going through in the military, and centered in the same area we are currently in, making them relevant.

On the same note, there is Xenophon's "Anabasis," an account of ancient Greek mercenaries fighting their way out of Persia to get back to Greece. This is an actual historic epic, on the level with the "the 300." Maybe he should see that, as well. All of this, i think, will prepare him for what he is about to endure. I truly hope he doesn't have to.

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