Desire and Discourse in Innovative Young Adult Fiction
"Desire and Discourse in Innovative Young Adult Fiction" explores and analyzes the representation of adolescent desire in young adult fiction and the significance of desire in constructing and influencing young adult subjectivity. Through primarily a Lacanian lens, I examine the ways in which desire constructs and shapes the subjectivities of the young adult protagonists in the following contemporary young adult novels: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. I also examine the relationship between the institution of school and desire, specifically how desire is a social discourse, created and sustained by language. By looking at the relationship between an individual and language, I contend that one's subjectivity is constructed by and through social discourse. "Desire and Discourse in Innovative Young Adult Fiction" also seeks to bring young adult literature into the field of academic and literary study, and to promote the critical examination of young adult novels. We must interrogate the ideologies implicit and explicit in young adult fiction, for a young adult's subjectivity will be influenced not only by the discourses of desire, but also by what she reads.
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