International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Gerontophobia in “The Coming of Age” by Simone De Beauvoir: an Interdisciplinary Study


This research aims to analyse “The Coming of Age” by Simone de Beauvoir, classify the word associations with the phenomenon of ageing and identify the changes in the perception of ageing by the population. The scientific methods used in this research are determined by the objectives and the research questions: methods of empirical research (survey, observation, semantic analysis, method of free-associative experiment). Text analysis was performed with the help of Voyant Tools (quantitative confirmation of patterns in the text, identifying key words and phrases within a large corpus). The semantic analysis of the text made it possible to distinguish three main connotations used by Simone de Beauvoir to describe old age: existential, romantic, pejorative and it was proved that “The Coming of Age” belongs to “sad” texts using V. Belyanin’s (2000) classification. The results of the associative experiment conducted with 340 participants showed that 45% of associations with the word ageing carry an existential connotation; 40% – pejorative; 10% – romantic and 5% of the associations have a connotation that cannot be included in the three main categories. The results of the text analysis showed that the content and the language of “The Coming of Age” by Simone de Beauvoir directly collate with the author’s personality. Moreover, modern society demonstrates similar stereotypes, phobias, and discrimination to those depicted in the literary work more than fifty years ago. The results open the gate to further research on gerontophobia and authors’ personality.