Rejecting the myth : characterizations of emerging adulthood in three contemporary novels

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebekah K. Costin (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
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Abstract: Due to changes in the labor force in late-capitalist nations, the years of the late teens and twenties are increasingly being devoted to identity exploration. Three novelists have recently focused their works on the struggles of these emerging adults. RM Johnson?s Dating Games, Molly Jong-Fast?s Normal Girl, and Mohsin Hamid?s Moth Smoke examine the problematic relationship these young people have with society. While the works present characters who attempt to reject the myths that have subdued others in their marginal positions in the past, the authors ultimately indicate that such rejection is impossible. Even their attempts to create their own unique identities are tied to the cultural and national myths of their postcolonial countries, and they are defined and limited by them. The very mythologies that promise individual freedom and choice, but that usually only provide a respite from the hegemonic structures of society, in the end offer a chance of redemption, though. For the marginalized individuals who have turned to dissipation in the face of the inevitable power structure are never truly subaltern. Each of these novels outlines at least one character?s dissipation and eventual obliteration from mainstream society, the society that both gives power and its conditions; however, they also all include at least one character who finds a way to avoid self or societal annihilation as well as avoiding accepting totally the systemic power structure that attempts to have them follow its rules. Their interpretations of cultural myths as well as their own flexibility have allowed an identity at least partially self-chosen. True there are boundaries of possibilities sanctioned by society; however, it is the reconciliation of self and society (note neither are entirely sacrificed or victorious) that psychologists have defined as the necessary gateway to maturity and adulthood.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Englishq
Language: English
Date: 2009
Hamid Mohsin 1971- Moth smoke--Criticism and interpretation, Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature, Johnson R. M. (Rodney Marcus) Dating games--Criticism and interpretation, Jong-Fast Molly 1978- Normal girl--Criticism and interpretation
Johnson, R. M. (Rodney Marcus). Dating games -- Criticism and interpretation
Jong-Fast, Molly, 1978- Normal girl -- Criticism and interpretation
Hamid, Mohsin, 1971- Moth smoke -- Criticism and interpretation
Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature

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