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Date of Award
Dissertation-ISU Access Only
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of English
Roberta S. Trites
The question “what makes a young adult novel queer?” has perpetuated the field of children’s and young adult (YA) literature since the 1990s as scholars have tried to differentiate between queer fiction and LGBTQ fiction for youth. This project uses bisexual YA narratives to problematize the binary that this question establishes, arguing that it limits texts to a queer/not queer designation. Instead, I argue that bisexual texts created for and by youth contain both queer and normative narrative structures that reflect the complicated, often contradictory nature of sexuality. Moreover, I argue that the geographies of the YA texts reveal these narrative structures. I use geocriticism—an approach that attends to the function of space and place in narrative—to develop a geocritical narrative theory of bisexuality that is informed by material feminisms. I prove first that children’s literature scholarship needs a framework to analyze bisexual YA literature that complicates the dichotomy between materiality and discursivity in order to grant bisexual characters agency. To do so, I analyze the geographies of bisexual YA texts, ranging in both form and genre, to argue that narrative space and place reveal a text to be at once queer and not queer. The patterns I theorize show how ideologies get mapped onto bisexuality through narrative geographies. They also complicate queer YA literature more generally by proposing a framework that does not presuppose a queer/not queer binary.
Tullos, Jennifer, "( Re ) Mapping Bisexuality through Space and Place in Young Adult Literature" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1261.