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Leaving Wisdom is a novella, based around historical and sociological research on New York City in the 1980s. The creative work follows seventeen-year-old Joanna Reese as she tries to make it on her own in New York City in the year 1984. This work explores themes of coming-of-age, mother-daughter relationships, and the unique cultural influence that the 1980s had on the youth during that time. In the past few years, a great deal of television and film have revisited the 1980s nostalgia, these works often overlook the true societal upheaval of the era and the way that it affected the psyche of the American teenager. Leaving Wisdom will attempt to create the most realistic recreation of the era as possible and utilize the setting to tell a moving narrative. Research for this project involves consultation of various primary historical resources such as newspapers and photographs to inform the setting of the novella. For character development and cultural reference, I have completed a review of research done in the area of the psychology of teenage runaways, mother-daughter relationships, and the effects of environment on the development of adolescents. In addition to this research, various literary works published during the 1980s and about the 1980s are being utilized as reference for the novella as a form, stylistic approaches to prose, and artistic inspiration. The decade of the 1980s is enigmatic in its difficulty to be defined as an era and there are many contradicting opinions on how the decade should be remembered. Despite this, most will agree that the 1980s were incredibly influential years in the history of the United States, particularly for the youth of that era. The ripples of this influence can still be seen today in popular media. Most representation of the 1980s today lean toward nostalgia rather than fact but resonate strongly across multiple generations. The 1980s were a time of drastic societal change and by viewing a narrative of a teenage runaway through the lens of this decade, new insights into the psyche of the American teenager and the evolution of American culture can be discovered.
young adult fiction
new york city
Aggie Creative Collective
Sherman, Zoe Allison (2020). Leaving Wisdom. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from