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Stereotypes below the Surface: A Comparative Study of Three Popular Young Adult Novels in the Romantic Fantasy Genre
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In recent years, the young adult genre has become increasingly popular and is experiencing a "second golden age.” It might be expected in such novels, when written by women and featuring gifted female heroines, to find some kind of a feminist message. Indeed, the heroines are often perceived as strong and capable. However, they fall in line with several old gender stereotypes. The three novels chosen for this study are: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I will show that women, although perceived as strong and capable on the surface, often conform to stereotypes. In order to do this I analyse how women are portrayed from different perspectives. Women are often perceived as passive in romantic situations, and objectified through the normative male gaze. It is interesting that also in novels written by women for women, the male gaze is prominent. Through this the female reader gains the desire to be objectified, implicitly from the narrative, which is something that works against women’s empowerment in society. Furthermore, the female protagonists rarely, or never, threaten patriarchy in any way and generally work toward reinstating patriarchy which is perceived as the only sensible option. Women in power, who do threaten patriarchy, are portrayed as sadistic witches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
Stereotypes; gender; young adult; fantasy; romance; feminism
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131462OAI: diva2:939994
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-20 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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