Anna Carey’s Eve: Mapping the utopian dream of gender equality within young adult dystopian fiction
LE3 .A278 2016
Wyile, Andrea Schwenke
Master of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
Young adult literature needs to see an increase in the volume and variety of gender-fluid heroic figures to combat the almost exclusive glorification of the male hero. More focus needs to be placed on the unconventional ways young adult heroes succeed on their quests without adhering to traditional stereotypes that limit characters based on their gender. Anna Carey’s Eve presents a young adult female hero who survives based on her own ability to change and adapt, as well as a willingness to rely on her friends and to help them in return. Eve and her friends are compassionate characters who use their agency to transform The New America from an oppressive state to a democracy that does not emphasize or enforce gender-based roles, as well as positively influence YA literature as a whole by challenging gender stereotypes. Eve influences YA fantasy literature for the better, and emerges from gendered stereotypes in the process. This thesis focuses on 1) factors that reinforce patriarchal hegemony in YA heroic narratives, particularly in dystopian, post-apocalyptic settings, and the preference of conglomerate publishers to choose manuscripts where the protagonists perform masculinity and 2) how blending genres in young adult literature can result, as is the case with Eve, in marketable novels with less conventional heroic figures, which are relatable to a wider audience of young readers. At the root of Eve is a utopian vision for a society that places less emphasis on gender prescription and more on basic human growth, development, and acceptance.
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