Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Caren Town

Committee Member 1

Richard Flynn

Committee Member 2

Amanda Konkle


While scholars and critics have explored various aspects of young adult literature, few have focused on the popular, but odd, use of dead narrators. When examining the dead narrators of Veronica Roth’s Allegiant, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, and Jess Rothenberg’s The Catastrophic History of You and Me, it becomes clear that the dead narrators are used as a foil for adolescent growth and maturation, and they also allow young readers to empathize with and accept death through the protagonists. These protagonists experience a proto-adulthood as they die too soon to mature through time and are instead forced to grow up quickly. Narrators Tris, Hannah, Clay, Sam, and Brie all struggle with coming to terms with death and, in doing so, they learn to appreciate life.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material