Constructing literary dystopia: exploring the divide between young adult and adult dystopian fictions
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:57 authored by Alexandra Jane Bodnaruk
Throughout study of the development of the dystopian literary genre, very little emphasis has been placed on young adult dystopian novels. In the twenty-first century, when young adult fiction is becoming a significant proportion of dystopian novels published, it is important to analyse the extent of the engagement of such novels with the dystopian literary tradition – and thereby establish their importance in dystopian discourse. Seeking to fulfil that aim, this thesis will be examining the similarities and differences between two adult dystopian novels, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and two young adult dystopian novels, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Shades of Grey: the Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde. The thesis will focus on how the authors construct the dystopian settings in the novels using methods that recur throughout utopian and dystopian fictions. The three methods that will be discussed are: characterisation, the manifestation of hope and fear, and the representation of politics. Ultimately, the thesis argues that the young adult literary dystopia discussed are simpler than adult dystopian texts, but are no less embedded in the dystopian tradition. In fact, that the young adult dystopian texts approach the same political issues as their adult counterparts reveals their full engagements with the dystopian literary tradition.