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ToK Senior Presentation

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Anna Reka

on 18 February 2013

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Transcript of ToK Senior Presentation

To what extent do YA books reflect and influence our youth’s perception and understanding of death? The girl dies because of cold and starvation.
The death is not hidden.
The girl is not portrayed in a purposely positive light (not a martyr).
She just dies. History of Young Adult Literature Young Adult
Today Questions
to Ask Changes in Young Adult Literature Related Studies The Little Matchseller
Hans Christian Andersen The Beginnings of YA Literature Background of YA Literature Changing Markets
YA book market: +25% since 1970.
Original YA population (12-18 y.o.): +17%.
Current YA population: 10-25 y.o.
Changing Goals
Make sales, not meaningful literature.
Cater to YA desires.
More magic
More fantasy
Less death
Overall, if books stay safe and fluffy, you get more book sales! The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger The Outsiders
S.E. Hinton To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee Books were for children, not young adults.
The Grimm Brothers
Hans Christian Andersen
Young adults (ages 12-18) had different lives.
No child labor laws.
More responsibilities (cleaning, cooking, etc.)
No "YA genre".
There were only children's books or adult books. (No transitional material.)
Children were often treated like adults. Similarities Examples of
YA Literature
Today YA literature provides an unrealistic representation of society.
Everything works out.
There is always a happy ending.
Sad and dark endings used to teach our children lessons about death and other dark themes.
Today it is a lot harder to teach children about death because serious things such as this are being glossed over in favor of more readership.
Young Adults are not learning the necessary lessons about death that help them cope when the time comes.
Not many kids want to read sad, depressing books (regardless of truthfulness).
Today’s society has evolved to care more about sales than real representation of life and humanity. Examples of Famous Early YA Literature Stray from reality to fantasy
less negative consequences for actions.
more happy endings.
The true realities of death and destruction are veiled behind happy endings.
Books with grislier details glamorize them.
A counter-argument?
Twilight still reinforces the concepts of good vs. evil...except in this book, good always wins, which is unrealistic. Differences Prominent, yet highly controversial.
Plot points: gangs, sex, violence, death, etc.
Parents did not want their children reading about such "scandalous" events.
Many of the books were banned for the "adult concepts".
Now studied in many high schools.
Widely acclaimed as classic American literature. Self discovery
Transitioning from childhood to adulthood (maturing)
Relatable main character
Exciting plot
Relevance to time period in which it is written
In other words, young adult books are always based on the issues that are at the forefront of young minds. Does the constancy of some aspects of YA reflect our human nature, something that does not change in young adult hearts even as time progresses? How about the fact that some aspects of death in YA have changed dramatically? Does it reflect our fears as a society? Or does it reflect our growing ignorance as a society about death? We want to know, does the evolution of YA influence our culture, or is it more reflective of the overprotective society we have become? If many YA books avoid the topic of death, how will this affect our youth’s understanding of death? "Young adult literature" ~ late 1960s
Fiction set in a realistic, contemporary world.
Address issues of interest to young readers ages approximately 12-18.
Books were issued by children's divisions of American publishers.
They were marketed to libraries and schools. Changing Markets and Goals Romantic and paranormal.
Vampires have become attractive.
Cannot suck human blood.
Cannot kill people.
Must be perfect.
None of the protagonists.
Evil characters.
Brie (a minor character) dies as a martyr.
Other deaths are implied but not mentioned.
The Twilight Saga
Stephenie Meyer Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins Magic and fantasy.
Little time spent on death.
A sentence or less.
Good characters who die are:
heroes who pass away with honor after a battle.
characters who have sacrificed themselves for a greater cause. A bloodbath and rebellion against authority.
The “good” side wins.
Deaths are plentiful, however those who die:
are evil (President Snow, who is the organizer of the horrendous event).
are dying for a greater cause (Rue, who inspires the eventual victors to win).
are dying honorably in battle (Mags, who dies to save a younger contestant).
There is no meaningless death - each serves a specific purpose. Narcissism The study concerned the levels of empathy different generations had.
People who were in the generation that grew up in 1960’s and early 1970’s tended to have higher levels of empathy than the other generations.
This was due to the societal environment that encourage people to look at and empathize with the plights of others, for example:
Civil rights movement.
Vietnam War.
We are the most narcissistic generation. Spiders The study concerned people's greatest fears.
Spiders ranked above death.
Humans are afraid of spiders because they are unpredictable.
More unpredictable than death?
Yes, because of medical advancements death is more rare.
Death is just not as interesting anymore, because it can be avoided so much easier.
YA authors write about relevant issues and ideas in their respective times; maybe death is no longer such a major issue as it was in the 19th century, where the average lifespan was much shorter. Does this issue even matter? Should the purpose of young adult literature simply be to entertain, rather than being a tool to teach life lessons? Cappella, David. "Kicking It Up Beyond the Casual: Fresh Perspectives in Young Adult Literature." Studies
in the Novel 42.1/2 (2010): 1-10. Literary Reference Center. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=52945152&site=lrc-live>.

Carter, E. G. "A Fresh Take on Literature." USA Today July 2012: 29. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.
25 Nov. 2012. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA297136393&v=2.1&u=hack22851rpa&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w>.

Cohen, Tamara. "The Shape of Fear... Why Spiders Scare Us so Much: Humans Are Hardwired to Fear Their
Angular Legs and Unpredictability." Mail Online. N.p., 12 June 2012. Web. 1 Feb. 2013.

Doll, Jen. "What Does 'Young Adult' Mean?" The Atlantic Wire. The Atlantic Wire, 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 25
Nov. 2012. <http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/04/what-does-young-adult-mean/51316/>.

"Empathy Varies by Age and Gender: Women in Their 50s Are Tops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 Jan.
2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.

Sutton, Roger. "Problems, Paperbacks, and the Printz: Forty Years of YA Books." The Horn Book Magazine
May-June 2007: 231-43. Literary Reference Center. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=24638991&site=lrc-live>.

Van Teslaar, J. S. "Psychoanalysis: A Review of Current Literature." The American Journal of Psychology
23.2 (1912): 309-27. JSTOR. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1412845>. Works Cited What is the impact on our youth when combined with other societal factors?
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