New Futures, same old Fear: Gender-based Violence and Victim Coping in Contemporary Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
Keywords:dystopian fiction, young adult, sexual assault, postfeminism, trauma, culture
The ability of dystopian fiction to offer critical views of futures riddled with the devastating consequences of today’s failures is pervasive also in its literary subgenre targeting young readers. While scholarship on these novels is extensive, the prevalence of sexual assaults in this subgenre requires attention. This study offers an introductory analysis of two contemporary young adult dystopian trilogies, Veronica Roth’s Divergent (2011-2013) and Beth Revis’ Across the Universe (2011-2013), with a focus on the sexual assaults the protagonists endure. The discussion draws on trauma and sexual abuse research to ascertain how and if these future societies and heroines challenge traditional representations of this crime.
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