Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature

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9780877458579: Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature

Chronicles the dynamics of power and repression found in young adult novels, and describes how characters in young adult novels negiotiate power hierachies existing in the family, church, government, and school.

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From School Library Journal:

The author deconstructs a number of YA novels by writers such as Francesca Lia Block, Chris Crutcher, Virginia Hamilton, S. E. Hinton, Madeleine L'Engle, and Paul Zindel, analyzing how adolescents negotiate their place in the power structures in their lives (school, family, religion, identity, government). The author also discusses how sex, death, and money both empower and repress teen protagonists. She believes that adolescent characters understand their own power (or lack thereof) by struggling with these institutions. A plethora of philosophies and theories (Freud, Foucault, Lacan, etc.) is cited as Trites looks intently at elements of narrative structure, metaphorical constructs, ideologies, and more. This is a complicated, detailed, and intellectual analysis, not for the faint of brain or casual aficionado; however, it is an interesting treatise about an important body of literature.
Bette Ammon, Missoula Public Library, MT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Young adult literature is flourishing, and the critics are giving it serious attention. Trites' talk about "poststructural pedagogy," "institutional discourses," and other abstractions seems to overwhelm discussion of the novels. But once you get past the jargon, her consideration of landmark books--The Chocolate War, Lyddie, Nothing but the Truth, Arilla Sun Down, and more--is thought provoking, especially her arguments that these stories are about questions of power more than about self-discovery and coming-of-age. Give this to advanced YA literature classes and to those English faculty members open to teaching something new. Hazel Rochman
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