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Review by Chloe Metzger Want to share? Sep 23, 2 Comments. Sep 22, Leave a comment. After my Freshers Ball, sober but smiling.

Representations of Transgender Creativity in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction and Television

Have a great Freshers week folks! Older posts. Chloe Metzger. Blog at WordPress. Through simple questions and statements such as these, emotions are presented in their most basic and purest form, which is the cause of their intensity. The narrative accepts that some feelings are so deep and complex that they cannot accurately be explained nor described in a novel; they can only be shown through action, implied through imagery, and left for the reader to interpret and imagine. I don't know how that happens.

And I think other boys don't know, and then they start discovering that. And that's the book. While this is undeniably a negative trait of queer fiction from a social justice perspective — queer romances should be treated and read exactly the same as heterosexual romances — it does give queer narratives a significant element of intrigue. Queer romances have much stronger emotional appeal to readers than heterosexual romances due to the preconceived hardships that surround being queer.

The chapter contains a paragraph of honest inner monologue, which is a great contrast to the minimalistic style of the rest of the novel:. This was what was wrong with me. All this time I had been trying to figure out the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my own body, of my own heart. All of the answers had always been so close and yet I had always fought them without even knowing it.

Romance in young adult fiction, and indeed all fiction, is greatly altered by queer themes, and will continue to be so as long as the world remains in its heteronormative state. However, as queer representation, queer rights, and social equality grow in strength, these effects will undoubtedly diminish. In an ideal utopian world of total equality in which queer individuals and same-sex couples are treated exactly the same as heterosexual people and couples and heteronormativity is non-existent, such effects would not be created by queer themes.

Many books with queer characters already seek to simulate this lack of effect. Queer romances will one day just be romances, no matter the genders of its lovers. PART 4. Coming-out novels, issue novels, and romance novels can be set in any time period or any place, but they are usually reserved for contemporary realism due to the realistic nature of their themes.

But queer themes can be explored in more fantastical genres. However, while these series feature queer characters, they do not examine queer issues in detail.

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Among fantasy, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and other fantastical genres, a more particular sub-genre of queer novels emerges: novels which examine queer issues in hypothetical scenarios through the use of fantastical genre. In doing so, these novels aim to provoke questions about real world queer themes by comparing hypothetical queerness to realistic queerness and showing either how bad or how great queer rights could be. This sub-genre is most apparent in dystopian fiction. YA dystopian fiction allows authors to explore social, ethical, and political questions through a usually action-heavy storyline and highly relatable characters.

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Queer issues, like racism, dictatorship, and all other issues of social justice, can be more freely explored using this mechanism. While the political themes are very much at the forefront of the novel — revolution, totalitarianism, and systematic oppression being just a few — the queer themes are kept repressed through the use of an unreliable narrator. Mayhew has shown the oppression against queer people through more than just descriptions of physical oppression; she uses this repressed narrative voice to show how the oppression has seeped into the minds of the people living in that dystopian world.


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Despite Jessika kissing both Clementine and GG, she still, for a large part of the novel at least, does not even acknowledge her attraction to girls. Literary narratives are neither dreams nor symptoms. Ingrid is subtly implied to be queer through the use of imagery and subtext. But was it for the men? The law?

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Mayhew here is interjecting to suggest to the reader that Ingrid has a personal connection to Paragraph , which can only be that she is affected by it because she is queer herself. Joy in whatever form it comes to you. The use of these hypothetical scenarios of queer rights simultaneously engages with realistic themes while executing a fantastical plot which is passionate and exciting enough to inspire both intrigue and anger in the reader.

The exploration of queer themes in fantastical genres such as dystopian fiction does not significantly alter the genre; instead, it harnesses it and uses it as a flexible base to shape and exaggerate already existent issues for the sake of heightened emotional reaction from the reader. Repressed narrative is particularly effective in the case of queer issues because it mirrors the realistic repression that one might see in contemporary realistic novels in which characters repress their sexualities for less fantastical reasons. Repression, even in genres other than realism, is at the heart of queer issues, and fantastical genres can easily be manipulated to heighten this to an extreme.

Rice ended his article about dystopian fiction with an explanation as to why it is particularly captivating to young adults:. The heroes of YA dystopian fiction are the ideal surrogate for the reader - confused and conflicted protagonists who are nonetheless valuable and resourceful fighting to be heard against the din of an overbearing adult society that not only doesn't understand them but has pushed the world beyond the brink and failed to pick up the pieces.

It is no wonder, therefore, that some of the most extreme examples of queer repression in young adult literature appear in dystopian fiction; dystopian fiction is designed specifically to make readers angry enough to care. PART 5. Queerness, as explored thus far in this essay, can affect all genres of young adult fiction in a vast variety of ways. However, it is important to note and explore the notion that queerness, sometimes, does not affect genre at all, and that despite this, the inclusion of queerness in a novel still promotes equality, respect, support, and representation for queer individuals.


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This is an effective way to promote queer equality through fiction because it achieves a normality to the queer narrative; it suggests that being queer is no more unusual than being heterosexual and there is no reason for queer people to be treated differently in any context. There are a variety of methods through which authors use incidental queerness to achieve this sense of total equality. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.

Smith employs a quirky, light-hearted humour in the narrative voice of the protagonist, Austin and sustains this tone throughout, perhaps in order to mirror the slight ridiculousness of the primary plot strand, which is that of giant, mutated grasshoppers taking over the world. One early chapter, for example, begins as such:. Shannon kissed me on the lips at the door of her new old house. She kissed Robby on the lips, too.

Shann always kissed Robby on the mouth after she kissed me. It made me horny. Austin states his feelings in a factual way in an attempt to interpret them:. Robby Brees was my best friend. He taught me how to dance. We smoked cigarettes. He kissed me. To be honest, I kissed him back.

Robby was homosexual. This is a much discussed and praised technique used by authors writing about queer characters in young adult fiction; Juno Dawson, a leading queer UKYA author and advocate for queer rights and representation, spoke of this technique in an article for Book Trust:. What we need to see are powerful characters who just happen to be queer.

In both my novels, young queer characters get caught up in murder mysteries. Their sexuality is no more relevant than their hair colour.

Smith furthers the normality of queerness in Grasshopper Jungle through its thematic treatment of labels.