Date of Award

Fall 11-2017

Document Type


Primary Advisor

Dr. Linda Linzey

Second Advisor

Professor Marlon Dempster


The genre of young adult literature has grown from a didactic category made of problem novels and taboo themes into a mimetic vision of modern life by way of dystopian fiction. In my thesis, I will discuss the ways in which young adult literature has changed over time and what those changes will mean for its readers and its future as a genre. The first section will analyze three groundbreaking novels that have disrupted the previously established didactic mindset of young adult literature. The publication of such novels (The Catcher in the Rye, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has set a new standard for the genre—one that encourages honest teen portrayal. The most recent trend of young adult literature, however, is dystopian styled texts. In the second section of my thesis, I will analyze why teenagers have suddenly become interested in this genre—and explore one particular novel in detail according to my theory. In applying mimetic theory and narratological transference to Veronica Roth’s Divergent, I will explore child malleability and identity formation in an attempt to explain how literature can impact readers in a positive or negative way.