Honors Program

Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Mark Holland

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

J. Slagle, K. Price-Rhea


This paper is a discussion and exploration on the effects of restriction and censorship during the adolescent years. The adolescent years for the purposes of this paper are going to range from childhood to early college aged students. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how different authority figures try to restrict this age group in certain ways and how the decision to do this generally does not produce the desired results. In the end I would like readers to walk away being more conscious of the dangers involved with too much restriction by authority figures in the lives of younger generations.

In constructing this thesis, the goal was to use adolescent literature to show the different levels of authority and the types of affects they can have on adolescents. I used The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to demonstrated parental authority, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to show the influence of cultural environments, The Giver to represent the dangers of restrictive governmental control, and The Handmaid’s Tale to ultimately show how desirable over-restricted items and behaviors become. An academic article pertaining to the book or author that further proves the argument supports each point that is made through one of the pieces of literature. Studies on child conduct disorder, drug-use and rebellious attitudes, and the “Red Scare” are also incorporated to show the realities of restriction in social settings.

Overall I would like this thesis to show patterns of unnecessary restrictions leading to rebellious younger generations. The more aware of patterns people become the more chances they have to try and break the cycle. The main point being that forbidden things become the most enticing things, so in order to encourage obedience instead of resistance we need to be more open and welcoming of new ideas and ways of thought. This will makes inevitable changes smoother instead of being lead by radical rebellions.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.