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One Hundred Years of Teen Angst Literary Representations of Adolescent Outsiders in Modernist Novels, Young Adult Novels, and Graphic Novel Memoirs

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Description: Teenagers often feel profoundly isolated from their peers or families as they struggle to understand their place in the world and their burgeoning sexuality. Youth culture has changed dramatically from the early twentieth century through the new millennium. Youth culture was practically nonexistent in the early 1900s, but by mid-century, teens with similar interests and backgrounds united in gangs. By the end of the 1900s, teenage groups splintered further as youth culture fractured into youth subcultures, such as grunge and punk. Thus, while the teenage outsider does not disappear from postmodern literature, it becomes more complex. In my thesis, I will examine how teenage outsiders get re-imagined at three distinct cultural moments in three different formats: experimental modernism, Young Adult fiction, and the graphic novel memoir. Chapter one will focus on The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway and Summer by Edith Wharton. Chapter two will center on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel. Finally, chapter three will examine Blankets by Craig Thompson, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Stylistically, the flashback-filled graphic novel memoir is like a visual stream of consciousness. Although graphic and young adult novels are more immediately comprehensible than Faulkner's stream of consciousness narratives, they often display a Faulknerian quality by weaving in literary allusions, focusing on introspective narrators, and avoiding linear plot structure. Thus, I will argue that Faulkner's portrayal of Quentin Compson serves as a model for the teenaged outsiders depicted in later literature.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work