- Separation - participant is taken away from old life or phase.
- Transition - he/she trains for new role.
- Reincorporation - he/she is presented back to society as a full-fledged member.
Rites of passage are quite popular in dystopian literature (as well as other science fiction and fantasy). For instance, in both Delirium by Lauren Oliver and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, an operation marks the passage from childhood to adult. The Maze Runner series is probably all rite of passage. Even middle grade likes a good ceremony or rite to mark the end of one phase and the beginning of the next. The Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. The job ceremonies in the Giver and the City of Ember.
So why do we find the rite of passage thing so satisfying (or at least intriguing)?
Maybe the Sociology 101 answer is that we don’t have true, hard-and-fast rites of passage in modern society anymore. We have Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, confirmations, Quinceañeras, Sweet 16’s, debutante balls, graduations, etc. But our society doesn’t necessarily consider the teen an actual adult (just a young one) after these rites. Graduation--or high school itself--is probably the closest thing we have to a rite of passage. However, whether we graduated, we're considered legal adults at 18. Yet, we still can't drink and probably live with our parents. In fiction maybe there's closure and recognition, huh?
Or maybe it's the other way around. Teen readers like these fictional rites because they (and we) equate them with high school itself. Or both.
What do you guys think? What are some of your favorite rites of passage from dystopian (or other science fiction / fantasy) stories? Or from real life?
(Next week YA vs. MG rites of passage.)