Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:
Happily Never After
Thursday 14 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL
Young Adult (YA) fiction is having a dystopian moment: exploring a future that faces destruction. Dystopian literature explores a time when hard choices must be made, and YA dystopian literature does this with teenagers at the fore, preoccupied with solving the problems of their harsh societies, but with limited options. By reading YA dystopian fiction through a Queer Theory lens we gain an understanding of the futures we expect young adults to believe in. Queer Theory allows us to examine Young Adult protagonists who disrupt the future as it is ‘meant’ to play out.
This paper will discuss works in which children are compelled to fight other children and adults in order to achieve the goals of adults, and will explore two different understandings of the future. The Hunger Games trilogy (2008-2010) by Suzanne Collins has Katniss fulfil the cycle of reproduction in her epilogue, foreshadowing a better future in which our protagonist has had children. On the other hand, Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles (1987-2015) does not so closely follow this pattern of reward and continuation of the future through procreation. By considering child protagonists in dystopian societies, we trouble the idea of the innocent child and bring the legal strangeness of this category to trial. This paper will look at the endings of these works, and see how they bring about a recursive, unending future.
Ally Wolfe is a PhD candidate in SLLL and has taught in Gender Studies at ANU. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Dean’s Scholar) in English Literature and History, as well as a BA (Honours) in English Literature at the University of Wollongong. Her research examines young adult fiction, gendered and generic norms, and dystopian fiction.