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The Books that Have Shaped Young Adult Fiction

Whilst YA Fiction in a sense existed before the 21st Century, it was never a properly defined genre that you could visit in the bookstore. You usually had your Childrens books and then your Adult books and your Classics. YA Fiction exploded into being with the publication of the Harry Potter books which we can consider as Modern Classics. This topic would be on the game changing books that have contributed to the growing shape and form of Young Adult Fiction.

For example, Harry Potter led to the popularity of YA adventure and action books such as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games is a staple in the genre for creating a wave of Dystopian fiction. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books paved the way for the multitude of paranormal fantasy books. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars contributed to the overwhelming popularity of Contemporary novels that delve into difficult and important topics that teenagers go through in life.

Of course there are positives and current or potential implications on these books in terms of how they have shaped the genre as well as how the genre is marketed, or at least what publishers looks for in this realm of Young Adult fiction. This would a very interesting topic to look at.

  • I love this topic. I would also suggest Veronica Roth's "Divergent", as that made a pretty big splash. – ValleyChristion 3 years ago
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  • I believe it is Young Adult novels are vital to literature because it touches on topics anyone can relate to, whether it is love and loss or finding your identity, the YA genre has something for everyone. – Yvonne T. 3 years ago
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  • Personally, I believe that The Giver by Louis Lowry is a predecessor to all the YA dystopias. – RedFlame2000 2 years ago
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The Role of Hubris in Œdipus Rex

Analyze the role of hubris within Œdipus in Œdipus Rex. Specifically, look at his confidence that he can solve problems of the curse of the gods in Thebes as a result of a mother marrying her son, how he believes that he is the solution to the problem instead of the problem itself. His edict that the cause of the curse is to be banished causes him to investigate affairs of the Thebian State, which culminates in discovering that Œdipus himself was the source of the curse in marrying his mother. How does hubris operate in these broad parameters? What role does truth and curiosity play? Are these things good?

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    'Breakfast at Tiffany's': A Feminist Approach

    The 1958 novella by Truman Capote ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ offers its readers a sneak peek into the lavish lifestyle of early twentieth century New York. The main protagonist, however, had become the centre for much debate among feminists. This topic would entail a balanced analysis of the character of Holly Golightly – is she the source of empowerment for women through liberating herself in the ways described in the book? Or is her personality simply an archetype, a false stereotype for a certain demographic of women?

    • This is very interesting and as both a fan and a sceptic I'd love an in depth analysis of this! I also wonder how the changes from book to screen changes our perception of Holly for the worse or better. Perhaps we can empathise with her a little more by resolving the love story, however you could also argue this further destroys her autonomy. – rubyellam 2 years ago
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    • It helps to also recognize the fact that the main protagonist is also looking for her dreams, as indicated in the song "Moon River", which is in the film version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Moon River, which is the name of a real river down in Savannah, GA, but the main protagonist imagines a partner who's looking for the same dreams that she is, which inspires her all the more. – mplo 2 years ago
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    • Great topic! It will be extremely helpful if you add other outside sources supporting your argument. – Yvonne T. 2 years ago
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    • I think this a great topic, and it will gain a lot of positive attention given that the movie is a classic and very popular still. I think especially in today's society, we need more analysis and exploration of the feminist ideals and how they were represented in the 1950s compared to now. – reschilke 2 years ago
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    • I would also encourage the writer to explore the possibility of both/and rather than either/or in terms of feminist analysis. – oddiem 1 year ago
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    • Great topic, especially for a piece not traditionally thought of as feminist (at least, I never thought of it that way). – Stephanie M. 4 days ago
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    The Central Role of Inspector Javert in Les Miserables

    Les Miserables passim has themes of reform, personal development and redemption. These premises are contained within the character of the protagonist Jean Valjean, particularly after his theft and forgiveness therein of his theft of a silver candlestick holder.

    These themes however are much more prevalent in Inspector Javert. He has an ultimate moral quandary expressed in his pursuit of the criminal Valjean. He held a virulent belief that the law was the correct course of action. His observations of Valjean’s deportment clashed with his fundamental beliefs on the law. This creates the quandary. Since he could not resolve the quandary, he committed suicide toward the denouement.

    Analyze Javert’s thoughts, actions, et alii in his pursuit of Valjean and how it advances the themes and aims of the literature, and ultimately its plot and thesis. An example of a key moment would be where Javert interacts with Valjean as mayor, when Valjean has another identity.

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      All Quiet on the Western Front: The Greatest War Novel of All Time?

      Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is considered the greatest war novel ever written. Why is this book singled out? What makes it so different from other literature about war? This article would examine themes, setting, and characters and look at why the book has remained so timeless. (Comparisons to the movie/s can also be made.)

      • It is indeed a great novel, and I think exploring what sets it apart is a marvelous idea. However, be careful with phrases like "the greatest novel of all time" because realistically, there's no way to quantify that. – Stephanie M. 3 weeks ago
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      The Portrayal of Women in Gothic Literature

      Look at the portrayal of women in Gothic literature. What tropes do they often fulfil?

      There’s the shrieking heroine of The Monk or The Italian (written by Matthew Lewis and Ann Radcliffe respectively). Even modern day Twilight has this.
      Bram Stoker’s Dracula shifted things by having Mina as the ‘new’ woman – the only reason she was respected is because she supposedly had the brain of a man. Even then, she was viewed as someone who needed protecting.
      Even texts like Jekyll and Hyde make a statement about women’s place in society by simply NOT including women in the narrative.
      Modern Gothic texts tend to favour the cool and powerful female protagonist, which in theory seems empowering, but can also be problematic.

      What is the effect of each portrayal of women? Are the women in each given text empowered or powerless? Is historical/social context important in how the female characters are portrayed? Do any texts defy their time period? Is there a difference between texts written by men and texts written by women?
      An article on this should analyse a wide variation of texts, from different time periods.

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        The Outsiders' Impact on YA

        Young adult fiction (YA) is immensely popular today, for both teenagers and adults. But the category itself is only very young. S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel, The Outsiders, is popularly considered the first ever work of YA fiction.

        So, what precedent did this novel set for the rest of this category of fiction? What aspects of Hinton’s novel are now staples in YA?

        An example is the discussion of weighted and important topics in a manner that is consumable by teenagers (The Outsiders discusses the harsh realities of every day class divisions). Or, like many YA books nowadays, Hinton’s protagonist is characterised as an outcast, or ‘special’ (he even has an unusual name, Ponyboy, something many other YA protagonists have).

        Discussing a few YA texts that share similarities with The Outsiders will help to show the aspects of the original text that have become commonplace in the young adult category.

        • You do have themes that seem to have been popular in this particular time and a bit beyond outside of literature too. See the television series The Brady Bunch (c. 1966-69) – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
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        • The Outsiders is a tremendous book and had a huge influence on many writers and readers. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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        The Novella, a forgotten medium?

        I propose an article that looks at novellas. The article could describe first what they are, explaining the length and conventions, explore how they differ from both a novel and a short story.

        It could be worth looking into the history of this medium, when were they most popular and why? What were the first texts classified as novellas and what purposes did they serve? Perhaps offer suggestion as to why they are not big in the literary scene today.
        Then, the article could offer analysis of some famous novellas, The Metamorphosis, Heart of Darkness, Jekyll and Hyde, Of Mice and Men, just to name a few.
        Offer suggestion as to why these in particular were popular, was it their content? Context? Were their authors already published writers so fans would read anything of theirs?

        If so desired, contrast the good by offering examples of novellas that are perceived as not good and offer reasons as to why. Are they not given the space to be fully developed? Does its brevity mean it is missing something?

        Use this analysis to draw conclusions regarding the novella’s place in literature including, if possible, whether this medium is likely to regain popularity or merely survive as a medium at all.

        • Cool topic! I very much prefer long novels, but I have read some wonderful novellas, including Jekyll and Hyde and Of Mice and Men (although I have mixed feelings there b/c of outdated disability representation). Do you think serialized novels might fit the topic as well? – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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        • Serialised novels could absolutely fit the topic, if they can be logically incorporated into the discussion. Perhaps, they could be used to substantiate the length argument. Are novella-length texts enjoyed more when the reader knows there'll be one or two more instalments to follow? – Samantha Leersen 6 months ago
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        • I love novellas, they have the detail of the novel with the accessibility (almost) of a short story. I think it would be useful in this prospective essay to acknowledge that a lot of the novels we associate with this time period (early 1900s) were originally serialised and were not necessarily released in the form we know them today. – hlewsley 2 months ago
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        • One novella that could be analyzed here would be Hemingway’s last major work, The Old Man and the Sea (1962). Notably it is not serialized. – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
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