Term of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Richard Flynn

Committee Member 1

Caren Town

Committee Member 2

Joe Pellegrino

Abstract

Author's abstract: Resourcefully and responsibly obtaining a sense of power is central to quality young adult literature. Laurie Halse Anderson's Prom and M.T. Anderson's Feed show their adolescent protagonists' struggles with identity formation, consumerism, and the adult world. In order to address power relationships, the two novels address the rise of a global electronic and print media system that collapses traditional notions of time and space and the excessive consumption associated with the culture such a system creates. However, these two novels explore postmodern consumer culture from different perspectives. Prom functions as a utopian, revisionist fairy tale in which the consequences of rampant consumerism are combated through individual agency and sustained community involvement, whereas Feed acts as an apocalyptic dystopia in which any quest for agency is thwarted by the rampant consumerism connected to the rise of a transnational, info-age economy. The extent to which these two novels fit within the theoretical framework of utopian/dystopian fiction illuminates their disparate approaches to the power struggles associated with the culture industry.

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