Rebellious Natures: The Role of Nature in Young Adult Dystopian Female Protagonists' Awakenings and Agency

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Contribution to Book

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As early as John Marsden’s “Tomorrow” series, which began with the 1993 book Tomorrow When the War Began, the tension between gender and place has been fictionalized within a number of young adult dystopian novels. Other young adult dystopian novels published within the last decade, such as Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games (2008), Jo Treggiari’s Ashes, Ashes (2011), and Alice Hoffman’s Green Heart (2012), present several noteworthy trends, including the proliferation of female protagonists and the use of nature as a critical site of awakening for these protagonists. Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies (2005), Ally Condie’s Matched (2010), and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (2011) may not yet have gained the fan-base or the academic interest of other young adult dystopian novels like the “Hunger Games” series. Nevertheless, when examined in conjunction with each other, Uglies, Matched, and Delirium1 provide similar contexts and narrative elements worth exploring, particularly in light of their female protagonists’ relationships with nature. Throughout their narratives, these novels suggest that a female protagonist’s awakening is catalyzed by her experiences within nature and that these experiences shape nature into a place ideal for claiming her agency.


Sara K. Day, Miranda A. Green-Barteet, & Amy L. Montz




Farnham, UK



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Female Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

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