January 23, 2011
housingworksbookstore:

I read an interesting article recently about the lack of strong female characters on television. The article mainly looked at Gossip Girl as a show without any positive role models and then curses the networks that canceled Veronica Mars and My So Called Life. In some ways, I have to agree. I mean, Gossip Girl is just crazy, who visits prison inmates in backless dresses?! And I’m also in the special group of people who still hope for a Veronica Mars movie (time to let that one go I think). Luckily for teenage girls everywhere, YA novels are celebrating smart and savvy young women and they don’t have to kick butt like Katniss Everdeen. 
(via Smart Girls | The New York Public Library)

Well wouldn’t you know… I’m in the middle of writing a chapter about the need for positive role models among YA protagonists as we speak!  

housingworksbookstore:

I read an interesting article recently about the lack of strong female characters on television. The article mainly looked at Gossip Girl as a show without any positive role models and then curses the networks that canceled Veronica Mars and My So Called Life. In some ways, I have to agree. I mean, Gossip Girl is just crazy, who visits prison inmates in backless dresses?! And I’m also in the special group of people who still hope for a Veronica Mars movie (time to let that one go I think). Luckily for teenage girls everywhere, YA novels are celebrating smart and savvy young women and they don’t have to kick butt like Katniss Everdeen.

(via Smart Girls | The New York Public Library)

Well wouldn’t you know… I’m in the middle of writing a chapter about the need for positive role models among YA protagonists as we speak!  

December 15, 2010
"My daughter Randy asked for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die. She had read several novels about teenagers in love. If they had sex the girl was always punished—an unplanned pregnancy, a hasty trip to a relative in another state, a grisly abortion (illegal in the U.S. until the 1970’s), sometimes even death. Lies. Secrets. At least one life ruined. Girls in these books had no sexual feelings and boys had no feelings other than sexual. Neither took responsibility for their actions. I wanted to present another kind of story—one in which two seniors in high school fall in love, decide together to have sex, and act responsibly."

Judy Blume, on Forever…

Did you know that FIVE of Blume’s books are on the ALA’s “100 Most Challenged Books of the Decade” for 1990-1999?  Forever… has been top-20 for two decades running. 

(Source: judyblume.com)

December 14, 2010
sabby:

Finishing a thesis chapter in six not-so-easy steps! 

There is one little check mark there! I’m making it happen! 

sabby:

Finishing a thesis chapter in six not-so-easy steps! 

There is one little check mark there! I’m making it happen! 

December 13, 2010
You would think after Tumbling for 2+ years…

I would have figured out how to reply to a reply.  Is that not a possible thing? 

Anyway, to answer some feedback on the last post:

1. Will, I think that it may have been a foolish decision on my part to post a stand-alone paragraph without its context.  As for where the thesis is going, the idea in this chapter is that the individual plot points are used to illustrate the framework of the YA romance paradigm, a master-narrative of sorts that is being sketched out as chapter one.  Cliff notes version: high-achieving, virginal protagonist, experienced/mysterious boy, secret relationship, discovery, fight, happy ending.  I’ve positioned much of the framework in object-relations terms, focusing on the “destruction of the object” phase in the differentiation between subject and love-object, fantasy and reality (I’m sure that makes no sense unless you happen to randomly be versed in psychoanalysis… I will do a much better job of explaining sometime in the future). Anyway, the balance that I’ve been trying to achieve is between laying out this framework as one that encompasses a huge amount of YA romance novels, and describing individual novels as examples.  So, the passage that I posted was preceeded by four or five pages of psychoanalysis mumbo-jumbo about the relationship between the discovery of a secret relationship/core-identity impingement and passive-aggression/destruction of fantasy love-object.  Does that make any sense at all?

2. Ricky, I’m surprised that you haven’t gotten into kickball yourself.  Isn’t kickball an integral part of the hipster subculture?  You should get your mustache, flannel, flask, and intellectual eyeglasses to a game, stat.  Also, check out my “See Friendship” with Helen.  Classic. 

December 7, 2010
One of the hardest parts of this whole thing is trying to strike the appropriate balance between explaining teen drama and explaining object-relational theories.

The duality of discovery and destruction is exemplified perfectly in Along for the Ride.  Auden, after spending the night with her love-object Eli for the first time, suddenly begins to have second thoughts in light of the intensification of the relationship and Eli’s newfound exuberance.  When faced with the prospect of playing kickball with her new friends, she balks, and explains, “I’d had the same night as Eli, and he’d woken up with a whole new attitude.  I should have been just coasting and happy, more ready than anyone to jump into kickball, especially with Eli there.  And yet, as the nine o’clock dance passed and the minutes of the next hour ticked down, I could feel my stomach getting tighter and tighter” (284).  The very same night, Auden runs into a former classmate with whom she had once competed, and defeated, for the title of valedictorian.  This classmate, Jason, serves as a reminder of the old self she had heretofore been happy to shed, and his endless talk about college achievement and leadership conferences serves to underscore Auden’s unspoken fear that she is giving up too much of her identity by being with Eli.  The intertwined fears that she will move too fast with Eli and will be exposed as a fraud by Jason lead Auden to abruptly break things off with Eli.  She tells him, curtly, “It’s been fun and all.  But I’m totally behind.  I have to get serious” (290).  Then she walks away and, in doing so, destroys both the relationship and the love-object.  

Pulling it off? Y/N/Maybe?  

December 2, 2010
"Words aren’t the problem; penises are."

My Life as a Body Norma Klein

Fun with source quotes! 

November 24, 2010
npr:

 
Gayle Forman writes: I read a lot of young-adult novels. I also read a lot of adult-adult novels, and I’m always after the same experience, whether I’m reading Philip Roth or Philip Pullman: a book that sucks me in from chapter one, makes me think and, above all, makes me feel. I want to finish the book a slightly different person than I was when I started it.
Lately, I’ve found that this transcendent reading experience I so crave seems to occur more often with young-adult novels. Maybe it’s because YA books — like the adolescence they depict — are so often about transformation, told through the lens of universal issues like grieving, war and first love. Or maybe it’s because at heart I’m an emotionally stunted 17-year-old. Or maybe it’s because so many talented authors are choosing to channel their talents into writing YA. Whatever the reason, 2010 brought a bumper crop of fantastic books, including these gems.

Emphasis mine. 

npr:

Gayle Forman writes: I read a lot of young-adult novels. I also read a lot of adult-adult novels, and I’m always after the same experience, whether I’m reading Philip Roth or Philip Pullman: a book that sucks me in from chapter one, makes me think and, above all, makes me feel. I want to finish the book a slightly different person than I was when I started it.

Lately, I’ve found that this transcendent reading experience I so crave seems to occur more often with young-adult novels. Maybe it’s because YA books — like the adolescence they depict — are so often about transformation, told through the lens of universal issues like grieving, war and first love. Or maybe it’s because at heart I’m an emotionally stunted 17-year-old. Or maybe it’s because so many talented authors are choosing to channel their talents into writing YA. Whatever the reason, 2010 brought a bumper crop of fantastic books, including these gems.

Emphasis mine. 

November 12, 2010
So, this is happening tomorrow. 
I feel like my topic looks a little silly up there next to Rumi and existentialism and Beethoven et al, but that’s just how I do.  

So, this is happening tomorrow. 

I feel like my topic looks a little silly up there next to Rumi and existentialism and Beethoven et al, but that’s just how I do.  

October 27, 2010
via www.ikeafans.com
Today my advisor told me that my prose was like Scandinavian furniture.  I am the Ikea of thesis writing, apparently.

via www.ikeafans.com

Today my advisor told me that my prose was like Scandinavian furniture.  I am the Ikea of thesis writing, apparently.

October 27, 2010
Back by Popular Demand…

The critics have spoken, and they want more YA thesis.

(N.B.: By “critics” I mean Ricky, my only fan.  And by “they want more YA thesis” I mean “he’s bored at home and needs some intellectual stimulation”.)

I let this blog fall by the wayside while I was fighting for my life working at a residential literacy camp for at-risk girls this summer.  Since getting back to school it’s been full steam ahead on the thesis, but not so much on the blog.  I’ll try to be better about it!

Here’s where I am right now:  

  • I decided on a final text list for my first chapter.  Forever… by Judy Blume, My Life as a Body by Norma Klein, The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer, and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen all made the cut
  • I’ve been reading a ton of psychoanalytic/feminist theory-  D.W. Winnicott, Jessica Benjamin, Carol Gilligan, Nancy Chodorow, Ethel Person, etc. 
  • Just today, I finished a rough outline for my first chapter!  Might seem insignificant, but I’m stoked.  It all seems much more manageable/real now. 
  • I’m presenting a five page paper (basically a summary of my first chapter) at at student research symposium in two weeks.  Which means: I have to write a five page paper to present at a symposium in two weeks. 

There you go, Ricky.  You’re welcome. 

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