Study Guide

Sixteen Candles Coming of Age

Coming of Age

SAM: Chronologically you're sixteen today. Physically you're still 15. Hopeless.

From Sam's first line, we have to wonder what she expected when she woke up on her sixteenth birthday. Did she expect to wake up transformed?

SAM: Nope, I look exactly the same as I have since summer, utterly forgettable. No, I didn't expect to wake up transformed. I just thought that turning sixteen would be so major that I would wake up with an improved mental state that would show on my face. All it shows is that I don't have any sort of a tan left.

Oh, thanks for answering our first question, Sam. Here she explains what she expects out of turning sixteen. Instead of an "improved mental state" Sam gets more depressed over the course of the movie.

MIKE: She's only eating carrots to increase the size of her breasts.

The website YourNaturalWellness.com, which is probably entirely accurate and reputable (ha ha) lists carrots as a food to increase breast size. If that's true, why isn't Bugs Bunny a Victoria's Secret model? How many young ladies rushed out to buy carrots after seeing Sixteen Candles?

SAM: Since I was about twelve I've been looking forward to my sweet sixteen. You know, a big party and a band, tons of people…

RANDY: …and big TransAm in the driveway with a ribbon around it…and some incredibly gorgeous guy that you meet like in France, and you could do it on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes.

We're not sure if Sam was thinking about STD prevention when she was twelve, but she definitely expected her sixteenth birthday to be a much larger coming of age ritual than it actually turned out to be.

GRANDMA HELEN: Oh Sam, let me look at you. Fred, she's gotten her boobies.

GRANDPA FRED: Oh, I better go get my magnifying glass.

GRANDMA HELEN: Oh, and they are so perky.

SAM: I can't believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.

Even though Sam wants to develop more, it's embarrassing when Grandma cops a feel. She might go in for two handfuls if Sam grows even more.

GEEK: I've never bagged a babe. I'm not a stud. I got the rep in sixth grade, and it like stuck with me.

Losing virginity is a huge part of the coming of age process, maybe even more so for guys who feel the need they have to prove their masculinity, like the Geek.

SAM: I can't believe I'm such a jerk. He smiles at me and I don't say anything. And I can't believe I gave my panties to the geek.

Sam makes a bad decision—the panties—and fails to make a good decision—she chickens out before talking to Jake—but tough choices and learning from mistakes are all part of the coming-of-age process.

SAM: I have to go to this wedding and look like Miss Pretty Princess in this dips*** bridesmaid's dress. I don't even have 1/10th of the bod to fill the stupid bust up. So, what, should I just waste myself and spare the agony?

We hoped Sam would get over her body issues by the end of the movie, but we'll cut her some slack. It's only been about thirty-six hours. Hopefully as she continues to mature, she'll accept who she really is.

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