Young Adult Literature: Reflecting Adolescent Protagonists’ Enforced Journeys to Uncertain Cultural and Personal Destinations

by Carole Stoffel

vendredi 12 juin 2015/Catégories: Travail de candidature, Branches

The focus will be put on three novels, which despite being set in very different geographic locations and periods, have the struggle of teenagers at times of social unrest at their core. A Long Way Gone, The Breadwinner and Tree Girl are three novels depicting the struggles of teenagers who seek to find their own identity, through interactions with their surroundings.
The plots of these novels evolve around the topic of how hardships can affect and form personality. However, a further point which needs to be considered is how teenage readers may react when reading about facing this adversity. Thus the protagonists’ personality being shaped by their personal experience is only one aspect to be considered.
In The Breadwinner a teenage girl is confronted with a changing everyday routine due to the Taliban regime and the absence of her father. In Tree Girl, colonial forces are in power, which lead Gabriela, the protagonist, to leave her familiar surroundings and embark on a journey towards an unknown destination. And finally these two works of fiction are contrasted with a non-fiction novel, namely A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier. This non-fiction should enable us to gain a deeper understanding of how teenagers are affected by tragic events in their lives. In addition, an emphasis will be put on the importance of the protagonists’ education, as well as the influence of their parents and their cultural backgrounds. A further topic that will be dealt with is the inward and outward journey that the protagonists undertake and how this shapes their personality. The concept of inward journey refers to the psychological growth and sense of maturity, whereas the outward journey refers to the movement of the protagonists across the country in the hope of finding a peaceful place.
A final stage will be to explore the impact of these novels on teenage readers in the Luxembourgish classroom, in an attempt to demonstrate that the classroom context facilitates intercultural interaction.

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