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on learning about power through adolescent literature…

March 18, 2011

Roberta Seelinger Trites has proposed that “while in children’s literature, growth is depicted as a function of what the character has learned about self, growth in adolescent literature is inevitably depicted as a function of what the adolescent has learned about how society curtails the individual’s power.  The adolescent cannot grow without experiencing gradations between power and powerlessness.”[1] It is a premise that opens interesting critical avenues into literature written for young adults.

She adds: “In fact, the very existence of the YA novel depends on a cultural ability to question the power relations that construct the individual.[2]


[1] p473 Seelinger Trites, R. (2001). “The Harry Potter Novels as a Test Case for Adolescent Literature.” Style 35(3): 472-485

[2] p482 op. cit.

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  1. Children’s lit vs. Adult lit. « Backyard Books NZ

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