Negotiating Hope and Honesty: A Rhetorical Criticism of Young Adult Dystopian Fiction Negotiating Hope and Honesty: A Rhetorical Criticism of Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

by Reber, Lauren Lewis

Abstract (Summary)
Young adult dystopian fictions follow the patterns established by the classic adult dystopias such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but not completely. Young adult dystopias tend to end happily, a departure from the nightmarish ends of Winston Smith and John Savage. Young adult authors resist hopelessness, even if the fictional world demands it.

Using a rhetorical approach established by Wayne Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction and The Company We Keep, this thesis traces the reasons for the inclusion of hope and the strategies by which hope is created and maintained. Booth’s rhetorical approach recognizes that a narrative is a relational act. At issue in this study is the consideration of what follows from viewing a narrative as a dynamic exchange between text, author and reader. Through a focus on rhetoric as identification, the responsibilities of both the author and the reader to a text are identified and discussed.

Three young adult novels, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Giver by Lois Lowry and Feed by M.T. Anderson will be analyzed as case studies. Together the analysis of these novels reveals that storytelling is an act of forging identifications and forming alliances. The reader becomes more than just a spectator of the author’s rhetoric; the reader is a fully involved member of the interpretive and evaluative process.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Brigham Young University

School Location:USA - Utah

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:dystopia rhetoric young adult literature wayne booth lois lowry m t anderson madeleine l engle the giver feed a wrinkle in time identification of fiction company we keep kay sambell


Date of Publication:03/03/2005

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.