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The portrayal of disability in young adult fiction: a critical examination.

Baker, Audry (2015) The portrayal of disability in young adult fiction: a critical examination. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

This inter-disciplinary dissertation explores the depiction o f disability in realist young adult fiction from 1980 to 2014, published in Ireland and Britain. It exam ines narratives to test whether it may be possible to portray the reality of disability, present positive role m odels and enabling fictions for the disabled while sim ultaneously increasing the nondisabled’s understanding o f disability. Thus it examines fiction’s relation to ideology. To date research into the subject o f disability in children’s books has been concentrated on titles for the very young with young adult literature receiving minimal attention internationally. N o academ ic study has been done at all in the Irish context. The project is inform ed by sociology, psychology and, m ost particularly disability studies as well as literature. Y oung adult books are critically exam ined to see if, or how far, each adheres to m odern perceptions o f disability and it considers the images used, what ‘ m essage’ is conveyed to the new generation o f readers as well as how realistic a picture is created. The books analysed in this work w ere chosen to highlight the current picture o f disability found in young adult fiction. I concluded that some novels have dealt with aspects o f the disability experience w ell, especially those written since 2000. Others show inaccuracies, m ediocrity and even prejudice with an overall lack o f excellence. M y thesis will make a contribution to the body o f research in C hildren’s Literature, especially in young adult fiction. It will also contribute to the relatively new use o f disability studies to inform criticism in general literature. As disability features in all eras and all genres o f literature, it is logical that it should take its place along with gender, post colonialism and M arxism , for exam ple, as a basis for literary criticism
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2015
Supervisor(s):Hand, Derek, Doody, Noreen and Keenan, Celia
Subjects:Humanities > Literature
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Education Studies
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:22463
Deposited On:20 Jul 2018 10:37 by Thomas Murtagh . Last Modified 23 Jul 2018 03:30

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