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coming of age

Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. The certain age at which this transition takes place changes in society, as does the nature of the change. It can be a simple legal convention or can be part of a ritual or spiritual event, as practiced by many societies. In the past, and in some societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity (early adolescence); in others, it is associated with an age of religious responsibility. Particularly in western societies, modern legal conventions which stipulate points in late adolescence or early adulthood (most commonly 18-21 when adolescents are generally no longer considered minors and are granted the full rights and responsibilities of an adult) are the focus of the transition. In either case, many cultures retain ceremonies to confirm the coming of age, and significant benefits come with the change. (See also rite of passage.)
Coming of age is often a topic of fiction, in the form of a coming-of-age story. In literature, a novel which deals with the psychological and moral growth often associated with coming of age is sometimes called a bildungsroman. Similar stories that are told in film are called coming-of-age films.

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