Major

English

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation

Fall 2018

Abstract

The popularity and amount of dystopian novels oriented towards young adult readers has increased significantly in recent years, particularly since the release of The Hunger Games. While some literary critics do not consider the genre to be serious literature or have the same merits as more widely recognized and classic adult literature, factors and themes commonly found in this particular genre demonstrate its ability to be highly impactful on the lives of young adults. Adolescence is a tumultuous time of extreme emotions, which is reflected in dystopia by the exaggerated circumstances and danger. It is also a period of self-discovery and growth, which results in young adults commonly feeling isolation or separation from peers, family members, or society as a whole. These factors are present in many YA dystopian novels, particularly evident in the novels The Giver, Divergent, and The Maze Runner analyzed here. In addition to reflecting common themes of this time period, the novels are made much more valuable by empowering readers through the actions of the novels’ protagonists, providing a powerful positive message that greatly impacts readers and explains the increasing demand for novels of this kind.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Mary Biddinger

First Reader

Dr. Heather Braun

Second Reader

Dr. Hillary Nunn

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