Originally published in Seventeen Magazine 1983, Teenage Wasteland is a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler, known for her realistic portrayal of ordinary people’s lives.
Teenage Wasteland is all about parenting. It’s about how the mother and father play a big part in how the child grows up. The parents are with the child more than anyone else and they are influenced by what they do.
First appearing in the pages of Seventeen Magazine, Teenage Wasteland has become one of Anne Tyler‘s most popular short stories – a poignant and masterful portrait of a disrupted life and a broken family .
“Teenage Wasteland” is both the title of the story and a reference to a line from the 1971 song “Baba O’Riley” by The Who by The Who. The meaning of this particular line is disputed, but the appearance of the song , in which Donny and other teens socialize under Cal’s basketball net, implies that Cal’s vision of free teens throwing the ball …
Teenage Wasteland is told by a third-person narrator from the point of view of Donny Coble’s mother, Daisy. Also, the key to getting the most out of the story is understanding Donny’s point of view and seeing the flaws in the other characters.
Anne Tyler’s short story “Teenage Wasteland” is a grim account of a troubled young man and his family’s vain attempts to help him succeed. This story is ironic in that nothing works as intended and the roles are often reversed in ways that distort the truth.
A teacher who doesn’t teach
The former teacher never teaches her son. Instead of raising Donny, Daisy becomes a mirror, reflecting Donny’s failures as her own.
The title refers to the two leading philosophical and musical inspirations of the band’s guitarist Pete Townshend: Maher Baba and Terry Riley. Townshend said the song was about “the absolute devastation of teenagers at Woodstock, where viewers were wrecked with LSD and 20 people suffered brain damage.
The main characters include Daisy, Donny and Cal. The protagonist is Donny and the antagonists are Daisy and society and education.
Donny is the protagonist in the story. His conflicts take center stage. The other characters perform actions revolving around him. Donny acts the way he does because he doesn’t agree with his parents.
Daisy is portrayed as a mother figure who has limited faith and worries about her son’s future. Daisy is also indirectly open to change. Later in the story, it is shown how Daisy no longer calls her parents before a party and trusts Danny to stay late on the weekends.
The repeating notes at the beginning of the track (known as the ostinato) are the result of the Lifehouse concept, in which Townshend wanted to feed the vital signs and personality of Meher Baba into a synthesizer that would then music generate based on this data.
The tone of “Teenage Wasteland” is cautious, cynical and sullen. Throughout the story, Anne Tyler critiques how adolescents grow up and what influences they are exposed to during their teenage years.
“Teenage Wasteland” was actually a working title for the song in its early incarnations as part of the Lifehouse project, but eventually became the title for a different but related song by Townshend that is slower and has different functions Lyrics.
The song commonly referred to as “Teenage Wasteland” is actually called “Baba O’Riley” The song “Baba O’Riley”, written by Pete Townshend and performed by The Who, is often misnamed “Teenage Wasteland”.