Larry McMurty’s The Last Picture Show

lastpictureshoThe Last Picture Show by Larry McMurty explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood in a small Texas town in the 50s. Sonny puts it best when he asks and subsequently responds, “Is growin’ up always miserable? Nobody seems to enjoy it much.”

I am a junior and senior English teacher at a small Mississippi high school and my students often ask me, “Do you miss high school?” My response is always no. Did I hate high school? No. Did I have fun? Yes. But would I willingly relive all of it? Again, I must answer no. If you asked me the same question about college, I might have a different answer, but by then I had worked through the perils of adolescence and was well on my way to exploring adulthood.

Adolescence more or less shapes you into who you will be in the future. Can you change? You certainly may, but those formative years are a good indication as to what your life will become. It is a time of uncertainty in which we try on many different hats and fail miserably at wearing some of them, but it is when we find success that we become who we are as adults.

Because of various circumstances, the group of kids in McMurty’s novel did not have adequate adults to guide them through the mistrials of adolescence, but I hope that the students in my classroom do. I always had people to guide me, whether it was at church, school, or home. I firmly believe that guidance was vital to who I am today. Perhaps, some kids today don’t have the great fortune of church leaders or even leaders in the home, but I hope that, for my students at least, they have a leader and encourager at school.

I work with an exceptional group of people who push to see the kids in this small community succeed, and I hope that one day when these students think back on the hardships of adolescence they see that though they weren’t there yet, they were well on their way.

Pages: 288 FoA Pages: 9746 (The total number of pages reported upon by the Friends of Atticus)

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