Escaping the Labyrinth: Suffering in YA Fiction and the Case of John Green’s [Looking for Alaska]

  How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? --A.Y. - John Green, Looking for Alaska (p. 158) What is the role of suffering in young adult literature? I've been obsessed with answering this question since one of my dissertation committee members asked me it a couple of weeks ago. My desire to answer this … Continue reading Escaping the Labyrinth: Suffering in YA Fiction and the Case of John Green’s [Looking for Alaska]

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On Closets and Straight Gazes – Bill Konigsberg’s [Openly Straight]

I was thinking about how snakes shed their skin every year, and how awesome it would be if people did that too. In a lot of ways, that's what I was trying to do. As of tomorrow, I was going to have new skin, and that skin could look like anything, would feel different than … Continue reading On Closets and Straight Gazes – Bill Konigsberg’s [Openly Straight]

When a Horny Queer Boy and Giant Praying Mantises Collide – Andrew Smith’s [Grasshopper Jungle]

This is a bizarre novel--but it's bizarre in the best possible way. Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle: A History is an end-of-the-world narrative about love. And sexual confusion. And growth. And God. And Polish ancestry. And paranoia. And Satan. And Saints. And two-headed babies. And bisexual love triangles. And bullying. And giant praying mantises. And pill-popping mothers. And genetically modified corn. … Continue reading When a Horny Queer Boy and Giant Praying Mantises Collide – Andrew Smith’s [Grasshopper Jungle]

The Lying Game: Edward Albee’s [Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]

Originally performed in 1962, Edward Albee's dark comedy, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, centers on the collapsing marriage of George, a middle-aged history professor who works at a university in New England, and Martha, the daughter of the university's president who is six years older than George. The play opens with George and Martha arriving home at 2:00 … Continue reading The Lying Game: Edward Albee’s [Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]

Queer Resistance in Rita Mae Brown’s [Rubyfruit Jungle]

If you want to get a sense of the views and attitudes that permeated lesbian life soon after the gay rights movement, this is the book you are searching for. Originally published in 1973, Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle is approached by many readers as the quintessential lesbian coming-out and coming-of-age novel. It centers on the growth … Continue reading Queer Resistance in Rita Mae Brown’s [Rubyfruit Jungle]

Space and Masculinity in James Baldwin’s [Giovanni’s Room]

Originally published in 1954, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room was not only one of the first novels to tackle issues of same-sex desire with heart and honesty, but it was also a text that prompted frank discussions of homosexuality within the public sphere. The narrative focuses on the experiences of David, an American who moves to Paris in … Continue reading Space and Masculinity in James Baldwin’s [Giovanni’s Room]

The Role of Gender and Literature in Alison Bechdel’s [Fun Home]

Originally published in 2006, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic memoir that led Alison Bechdel to commercial and critical success. Reminiscent of Art Spiegelman's Maus, Fun Home explores the relationship between Alison and her closeted father, Bruce Bechdel, to shed light on themes such as gender, the coming-out process, and the complicated dynamics of family life. The exploration … Continue reading The Role of Gender and Literature in Alison Bechdel’s [Fun Home]

Connection Failed: An Analysis of Christopher Isherwood’s [A Single Man]

Failure is found at the heart of many great works of fiction. It is a common motif used to spark an emotional connection, sympathy, and at times, anger. Failure is not only the heart of Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man--is also the blood, the flesh, and the soul of this novel. Centered on a single day … Continue reading Connection Failed: An Analysis of Christopher Isherwood’s [A Single Man]