The Gerontologist, Vol 34, Issue 1 73-78, Copyright © 1994 by The Gerontological Society of America
The two faces of age and the resolution of generational conflict
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 62901.
The aged are often regarded as exploiters of youth, selfishly clinging to a
disproportionate share of wealth, power, and resources. Paradoxically, they
are also viewed as helpless victims as they fall into physical decline.
These two faces of age appear in a number of literary texts, including
works by Shakespeare, Balzac, and Dickens. Although these two perceptions
of old age suggest unresolved conflict between youth and age, there often
appear young characters in these works who mediate between these polar
extremes, thus becoming instruments of generational continuity.