The stories ‘Grow up? Not so fast’ by Lev Grossman and ‘Debtors Prism’ by Margaret Atwood

The tales titled "Grow Up? Lev Grossman's "Not so fast" and Margaret Atwood's "Debtors Prism" both deal with topics that, despite appearances in society, are of vital significance. Lev Grossman does a good job of describing a new era of life that is populated by the distinct age group he refers to as "twixters." The twixters are on the verge of maturity and range in age from twenty to thirty. As an alternative, Margaret Atwood presents a subject that is equally pertinent to this new era of life. She discusses debt and its unintended benefits for a person's mental health. Accurate and unbiased interpretation of societal changes is necessary to foster harmonious development of the individual and the society in general.

How individuals perceive the new age group referred to as twixters is very crucial if they are to get the necessary support needed to become fully-fledged adults. Their predicament bears the same markings as the debtors, who for their own wellbeing, need to view debt as a means of taking the necessary steps to further their lives. Margaret Atwood explains how psychologically enriching it is to be confronted by unpaid water bills, electricity bills and mortgage. It gives the individual a sense of liveliness and at the very least one cannot complain of ennui. Thirty years back, the twixters were an unheard phenomenon. The twixters reportedly take a longer time to adjust to the adult environment but this cannot be treated as a sign of failure, indecision and fear on the part of the young adults. On the contrary, it should be viewed as a period of self discovery.

The Debtor and Twixter Paradigm

The societal way of looking at debt is one wrought with hate, disgust, dread and many people go to great lengths to ensure that they are personally debt- free and their property is not in any kind of debt-related peril. This, however, does not deter them from taking mortgages on their houses multiple times or taking a personal loan to pay off some bills or using their property for collateral in some business deal they are working on. ”So, “paying off the mortgage” is what happens when people play the game of “Debtor” nicely” (Atwood 353). There is minimal difference between a debt and a gamble. Gambles are necessary in a new and ambitious world.

Margaret Atwood interprets the novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens in a different light. The main character of the novel ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ was a miser who did not even spend his gains on himself. It is reputed that Scrooge made an unconscious pact with the devil. The word ‘devil’ in this case can be substituted with ‘creditor.’ People incur loans everyday but view it as a burden, whereas it ought to be seen as an opportunity to spend and grow financially. Mary Atwood challenges people to use money as the reason why it is called currency, is for the sole purpose that it must be in motion. The character ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ farther shows us the folly of withholding money. At the end of the novel, audiences see a much happier and lively Scrooge contrary to the beginning of the novel. The secret is that one must not horde money, but must spend it. The perception of society that whoever has the most money in their bank account is more potent and stable than the one who is constantly finding good uses for his money, is misguided and wrong.

An equally misguided notion in society is the stagnation of psychological evolution in the minds and lives of young adults. Lev Grossman, in his book, ‘Grow up? Not so Fast’ endeavors to document different views of some well renowned specialists and experts who have studied the trends depicted in young adults, referred to as twixters, over generations. The question being debated on is, ‘When does adulthood begin?’ The criteria used to determine this is based on the financial stability of the individual and the individual’s family status. Twixters tend to take 5 more years to graduate college, wander from city to city and from job to job. This is contrary to thirty years ago, when the average American woman married at 21 and had the first child at 22. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either trends since it is arguable that the natural process of evolution has taken place and it has brought about this change along with it.

Jeffrey Arnett, a development psychologist at the university of Maryland states, regarding twixters, “This is the one time in their lives they are not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else. So they have this wonderful period to really focus on their lives and work on becoming the kind of person they want to be” (Grossman 331). The twixters are simply experimenting with different jobs, personalities and residential places so that they can get it right when they actually decide to settle down. Twixters expect a lot more from a job than a paycheck. It is not that they do not take life seriously; they take it so seriously that they spend years choosing the right path to take.

Another disclaimer to students when they graduate into the job market is the lack of practical skills to back it up to the scholarly skills taught in most classes. A case in point is Matt Swann who took six and a half years of his life to study Cognitive Science. It however, did not pay off when he was laid off from his job forcing him to go into waiting tables in Atlanta. He worked for a year and a half as a waiter and he claims that he acquired for real-world skills at waiting tables than he did at school. Most colleges do not teach the practical side of learning due to the rigidity of their teaching plans. They are yet to adapt to the current job market with its qualifications. Again the real-world perception by educators of the functionality of the current job system is not up to date. One may even argue that it is not worthwhile to enroll into an institution of higher learning. The worldly experience and knowledge the twixters acquire in their exploits in all sense and probability outmatches that acquired while sitting behind a desk during lectures. Among the honorable mentions of schools that have evolved as required are DeVry, which focus on teaching practical skills to scholars. The numbers are still meager but a change is inevitable.

Philanthropy is described as the voluntary promotion of human welfare. Mary Atwood again centers on Scrooge who is greedy and intolerant to the needs of others. “A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” (Atwood 354). The bizarre thing about Scrooge is that he does not even notice his human baseness. This also applies to many individuals who share Scrooge’s character all without a clue of it. These modern day Scrooges hide behind excuses to avoid giving up alms for charity. They have the notion, ‘everyone for himself.’ These people constantly tell each other that times are hard and they have their own affairs to look out for without having to cater for the needs of a less fortunate individual.

In, a ‘Christmas Carol,’ one such man embodies the fate of all these modern day Scrooges. His name is Marley and he was Scrooges partner in business. Marley pays for the sins he made during life. He totes a long steel chain of deeds, ledgers, cashboxes, padlocks, and purses wrought in iron (Dickens 1843). This offers a new insight to the part played by the creditor. The creditor indulges in usurious money lending and is adamant to give even a single penny for the benefit of another. Such individuals are manifested in modern times as the selfish individuals who give nothing to charity and the usurious money lending ones like banks. It is mandatory to perceive the plight of the less fortunate and abstain from taking advantage of them. Marley’s fate awaits those who follow in his footsteps.

Society’s denial of the twixters is alarming. Most people think of it as a passing phase, which is not accurate. Tom Smith, director of General Social Survey says, “In another ten or twenty year, we are not going to be talking about this as a delay. We’re going to be talking about this as a normal trajectory” (Grossman 337). The denial of society of the upcoming age group only serves to decrease the chances of the twixters reaching adulthood. Parents still living with their 23 year olds should not feel disappointed but should nurture them appropriately. In 1996, the CEO of General Motors started Automotive Youth Educational Systems. It’s a program that puts high school students in shops alongside experienced car mechanics. More than 7800 students enrolled and 98 per cent ended up getting employed in the business where they apprenticed. A case in point is Chris Rolando who works in Detroit. He has bought a house and has a profession.

Individuals like Tom Smith need appraisal for the consideration taken into mentoring these children and giving them a direction in life. This is sadly not the case for many twixters who feel disappointed with their lives; something a little encouragement from society would eradicate.


Accurate and unbiased interpretation of societal changes is necessary to foster harmonious development of the individual and the society in general. How people discern the changes in society today has a bearing on the future good of the youth. The world changes daily and people evolve with the changes. The exact impact that these changes have in society depends solely on how individuals perceive them, understand them and apply them to daily lives. The subjects on human debt, not only analyses the significance of debt in our lives, but also the moral aspect of debt and how each individual has played the role of creditor and debtor in their lives. It is advisable to grow with the seasons.

Works cited

Atwood, Margaret. Debtors’ Prism. The Wall Street Journal.(September 20, 2008). Print

Grossman, Lev. Grow Up? Not so Fast. Time Magazine. (January 16, 2005). Print.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. First published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843.

Web. Apr.4, 2017.

"Charles Dickens; Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition". The New York Times. 19 December 1863. Web. Apr.4, 2017.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price