Macquarie University

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Rape politics in adolescent fiction

posted on 2022-03-29, 01:42 authored by Aiyana Altrows
Feminist critics have argued that rape prevention discourse can be complicit in perpetuating rape culture, because the focus on women's behaviour sidelines an interrogation of the causes of rape. This thesis examines the representation of rape in adolescent fiction, particularly the prevalence of rape scripts that conform to this dynamic. The thesis offers a comparative examination of two novels which exclude the rapist, What happens next and All the truth that's in me, and two which include the rapist, You against me and The mockingbirds. An examination of the political differences between confession and the feminist practice of speaking out demonstrates how victims' voices can be tools of either self-empowerment or institutional control. Central to my discussion is an analysis of how novels construct "rape spaces", or spaces into which a rapist's agency is relocated to suggest that they contribute to rape. Applying this theory to both public spaces and female bodies, I suggest that without an appropriate outlet for blame, these are presented as dangerous for females. The thesis determines that excluding the rapist character pathologises victims and creates rape spaces, while including him allows blame to be appropriately assigned and the causes of rape to be interrogated.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Victim's voices : confessions and speak-outs -- Rape spaces : public and private -- Rape space : the female body -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 55-56

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Victoria Flanagan


Copyright Aiyana Altrows 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (56 pages)

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