University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 > Teens and Chaos: Representations of Maturation in YA Dystopian Literature

Teens and Chaos: Representations of Maturation in YA Dystopian Literature

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This seminar will examine representations of teenagers in popular culture through the lens of Young Adult (YA) dystopian literature. From its inception in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, YA literature has been involved in the portrayal of teenagers as – as Hinton’s title suggests –‘outside’, removed from the adult world, disenfranchised, and centrally, possessing both a profound capacity to exact change as well as the ability to destroy. Focusing my discussion through the highly popular YA dystopia, I will look specifically at Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy to explore how these cultural perceptions of adolescents filter through to contemporary texts. This discussion will involve a consideration of the ways in which modern social anxieties are articulated through the distancing of dystopia, and will explore the ways in which the adolescent disrupts ‘traditional’ binaries of childhood and adulthood, as the shift from ‘innocence’ to ‘experience’ is complicated by the adolescent’s dual vulnerability and power.

This talk is part of the Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 series.

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