UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Black hill castle : an ordinary hero Woods, Samantha


My thesis novel, Black Hill Castle, is a tale of friendship, exploration, and survival in the contemporary, climate-change-affected landscape of the Cariboo in BC’s Interior. The story works with the methodology of re-mapping classic adventure novels, such as Treasure Island, or epic fantasy, such as Lord of the Rings, and the “hero’s journey” (Campbell) onto a contemporary plot. I also use the tools of “fantasy and magic” to transpose fantastical/mystical elements of storytelling onto the realistic setting of my multi-generational cabin. My setting mirrors the young protagonist’s fearful perception of the radically altering woods. My work inspires a different perception of “the hero,” as I believe the origin story to have toxic connotations, especially for young adult women. My work sees heroic characters through an “environmental steward” lens and understands “the importance of youth agency to early adolescence (being able to ‘take a stance’) …[because] the environment [is] widely neglected in literature-based approaches to…education” (Bigger and Webb 402). The story follows 16-year-old Andy as she returns to her summer cabin—once owned by her grandpa—after he passed away that prior year. Here she finds her traditional paradise to be plagued with fear, sadness, and change. She re-unites with her best friend Lizard, an Indigenous to the region. Soon she begins work at his family-run fishing resort. Later on, a massive storm causes a chain-reaction of wildfires that threaten their community. Andy discovers a map that her grandpa left behind, a map to a scavenger hunt he designed through the forests around the cabin with the promise of a treasure and the title of a hero at the end if she completes the expedition. She decides to go on this journey with her best friend and a newfound friend, a city-comer, Yaz. Through this journey she discovers the real, truer story of her idolized grandpa and learns to become her own type of hero and steward of her own natural environment.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International