Representation & Construction of Disabilities in Young Adult Literature

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hannah M Skaff (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Young adult literature shows how different people groups interact with each other within a culture. Many young readers are exposed to injustice and prejudice for the first time in the books they read. Because of this, it is important for educators to incorporate inclusive literature in their classroom. They should be aware of the diversity of their student population and should choose books that accurately depict the lives of those in minoritized groups. One aspect of diversity that is commonly overlooked is ability and disability. The goal of this study is to find out how disabilities are portrayed in young adult literature, what challenges characters with disabilities face, and how they overcome these challenges. This two-semester project works toward a greater understanding of ability and disability in young adult literature through a critical content analysis of two young adult novels using a Critical Disability Theory framework. The focus of this content analysis is on how the main character shows agency and independence, how they advocate for others, how they view themselves and their disability, and how other characters view the main character and their disability.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
disabilities, young adult literature, critical content analysis, characters with disabilities, representation of disabilities, Critical Disability Theory, CDT, critical theory

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