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Title: Myth (un)making : the adolescent female body in mythopoeic YA fantasy
Author: Phillips, Leah Beth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 0084
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Through a reading of the heroic, female bodies available in Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books (1983–2011) and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles (2012–2015), this thesis demonstrates how mythopoeic YA fantasy contests the dominant, hegemonic narratives of female adolescence. Owing to the system of binary oppositions structuring this space, the adolescent girl is offered— through the heavily stylised and always-edited images of popular and media culture—a very narrow and limited means of becoming self, one insisting on a discourse of self-through-appearance at the expense of the body’s fleshiness. Demonstrating a creationary or world-building mind-set, this vein of speculative fiction offers a sub or counter-cultural space in which alternative frameworks of living and being an adolescent female body are possible. Through the sometimes-fantastical transformations of the body in Pierce and Meyer’s fantasy, this thesis engages liminality, focusing on the adolescent (between child/adult), the body (between self/other), and young adult literature (YAL) (between children’s/adult literature). Drawing from a variety of fields: YAL and feminist theory, studies of myth and folklore as well as popular culture and cultural anthropology, this thesis speaks to and from the places between oppositions, and does so in order to refuse the individuality and isolation required by hegemonic models, while also offering a re-mapping of the body’s curves and contours, one that takes “lumps,” “bumps,” and “scars” into account. To counter the dominant framework of adolescence, this thesis concludes by offering, through a metaphor of “the Pack,” a model of interdependency and relation. Formed by repetition and connection, this model frustrates the economy of opposition, while also taking into account the body’s raised and irregular surfaces and demonstrating how individuals may be “scored into uniqueness” through relationality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Humanities Research Centre
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)