Sarah Hentges, ‘Girls on fire: political empowerment in young adult dystopia ‘

More ideas to add to the debate around YA dystopias which I’ve posted about recently. In this article, Sarah Hentges argues that images of young women in these currently very popular novels and films are positive and ’empowering’. She also highlights the portrayal of diversity in such fiction. Thus, she argues that they are politically progressive as opposed to those critics I cited in my previous post, who see them as nothing more than vehicles for neo-liberal ideology. I’m inclined to defend these texts myself, but I wonder (I’m being provocative a little!) if these kind of readings, from either side, are not somewhat incomplete as literary analysis. I think that the way people read is more complex and less deterministic than a simple identification with shared identities who then become role models. I think, too, that more goes on in literary texts than just the surface articulation of ideologies, whether progressive or reactionary. But the article contributes to a debate that’s worth having.

About William the Bloody

Cat lover. 18C scholar on the dialogue and novel. Co-convenor OGOM Project
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