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"He had the words" : the search for truth in the fiction of Bruce Brooks

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sheryl Long (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Catherine Ross-Stroud

Abstract: Bruce Brooks, an award-winning author of adolescent literature, is most often classified as a writer of adolescent sports fiction. Critics like Chris Crowe tend to regard his works as typical of adolescent literature and, therefore, expect Brooks’s main characters to reconcile with authority. Although Brooks does focus on characters who are in conflict with authority, he does not always show these characters as finally accepting their prescribed roles. In The Moves Make the Man and What Hearts, Brooks creates two similar narratives in which his main characters seek to find truth through their control of discourse. As Roberta Trites says is typical of adolescent literature, both books depict adolescents who are exploring their ability to exert power. Applying the philosophical theories of Michel Foucault to The Moves Make the Man and What Hearts shows that the characters in these novels are conflicted by their desire for power and their need for freedom. They attempt to attain freedom through confession but find that freedom is not available without submission. In The Moves Make the Man, narrator Jerome Foxworthy depends on his use of words to overcome the oppressive authority of institutional discourses while Bix Rivers exercises control of the discourse through his silence. Although both boys are searching for freedom, neither is willing to relinquish authority. While these characters need to exert power, that power is dependent on their relationships with others. In What Hearts, Asa Hill uses discourse to structure his world and to create his identity. Asa comes to understand that he must use words and silence; and he recognizes that while he can assert power, he does not necessarily want to do so. His final acceptance of a less authoritative role within the institutional discourse of the family fulfills the established expectation of adolescent literature.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Maters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Brooks Bruce The moves make the man--Criticism and interpretation, Brooks Bruce What hearts--Criticism and interpretation, Young adult literature
Subjects
Young adult literature
Brooks, Bruce. What hearts -- Criticism and interpretation
Brooks, Bruce. The moves make the man -- Criticism and interpretation