Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Phyllis Thompson

Committee Members

Karen L. Cajka, Thomas H. Crofts


Young adult literature has developed from a didactic means of behavioral control over adolescents to a means of promoting the reader's psychological development as an independent individual. In contemporary works (1970s onward), the use of Foucault's theory of the Panoptical society has given way to the development of the role of the adolescent rebel. In these novels, a pattern can be seen in which the protagonist defies the control of the Panoptical society and accepts the role of adolescent rebel. In particular, this pattern can be seen in the works of Francine Prose (After), Jerry Spinelli (Wringer and Stargirl), Bette Greene (The Drowning of Stephan Jones), and Gary Schmidt (Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Daughter). Each of these novels shows the adolescent rebel character defying the social ideals centered on age, gender roles, sexuality, and race. This pattern is important to the genre of young adult literature because it not only brings new literary merit to the idea of the "problem novel," but it also aids in the adolescent reader's psychological growth and development, as noted by Lawrence Kohlberg and Erik Erikson.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.