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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Heroes, adolescents, and artists : the quest of the adolescent female-identifying artist in young adult fantasy literature Moorhouse, Kelsey Elisabeth

Abstract

This thesis is the academic companion to my original young adult fantasy novel, Writing Magic. I explore the impact of patriarchal discourse on hegemonic Western literature through a poststructural lens, focusing on stories centered around heroes, adolescents, and/or artists from the eighteenth century to the present day. Female-identifying characters have long been confined to narrow roles (temptress, mother, damsel, crone) within heroic narratives, both fantastical and artistic, if not altogether excluded. This has perpetuated the limited subject positions available for female-identifying characters in literature. Therefore, I propose the Kunstlerroman form (a novel foregrounding the development of the artist; related to the Bildungsroman, or coming-of-age story) as one possible method for centering female-identifying protagonists and their concerns, while also challenging the perceived universality of the male experience. By using evolving artistic practice as one vehicle through which the female-identifying protagonist can voice her own story, the Kunstlerroman novel has the potential to dismantle patriarchal language in fantasy from within. My 140 000-word novel, Writing Magic, serves as a creative inquiry into the effectiveness of the Kunstlerroman to these ends, with an eye toward possible bibliotherapeutic and pedagogical applications.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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