Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Brunner, Edward

Abstract

This thesis explores the history and current condition of contemporary young adult literature. It looks at why the genre has been marginalized, especially in relation to education and scholarly critique. Chapter one places Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter alongside the contemporary fiction of Hilary Jordan, When She Woke. The discussion of Jordan's work points out the importance of the contemporary work and how it can be used to enhance learning and appreciation for it's canonical predecessor. Chapter two looks at the ghost story as written for the younger range of young adult literature, the crossover novel, and adult literature. Lisa McMann's Cryer's Cross explores how death and ghosts affect those left behind after a trauma and is targeted to a young adult audience. Laura Kasischke's novel The Raising addresses ghostly existences when a college student is supposedly killed by her boyfriend. This book bridges the gap between young adult literature and adult literature. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold looks at death and loss from the vantage point of the dead and it's subtlety puts it in the group of adult literature. All three novels help their targeted audiences in differing ways and allows for self-exploration of beliefs and values.

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