“I Am My Father’s Daughter”: Inheriting Environmental Attitudes in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

“I Am My Father’s Daughter”: Inheriting Environmental Attitudes in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction poster

Research Authorship:

Courtney Green

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Betsy Nies | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of English

Abstract:

The worlds of young adult dystopian fiction exude anxiety – anxiety about romantic love, family, freedom, politics, and, in many ways, the present state of the environment as our future. But where do children learn their attitudes regarding the natural world? And how do the children of narratives such as young adult dystopian fiction go about fixing the problems they see in the natural world as a result of the attitudes they were raised with? Do they even go about fixing anything at all? By looking closely at parental relationships and attitudes regarding nature in two of the most popular young adult dystopian novels – The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and Divergent (Veronica Roth) – we begin to see a pattern emerging between the oppression of nature and females, the father’s role, and an ending hinging on equality and democratic ideals.

2 thoughts on ““I Am My Father’s Daughter”: Inheriting Environmental Attitudes in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction”

  1. Hi Courtney,
    You’ve set up an interesting contrast between these two novels. In the Hunger Games then, the father becomes a bit of a liberatory figure while in the other text, the father contributes to the oppression of women and nature.

    What conclusions can you draw then from such dichotomous portrayals? Dr. Nies

  2. Hi, Courtney,
    I find your concern with and understanding of the existential anxieties that the characters in the two novels experience to be compelling, even moving, and in any event culturally urgent. To my mind the etymology of “inherit” (ultimately from an Indo-European root that means “to release” or “let go,” the source of the Latin stem from which “heir” derives, a stem that is hypothesized to mean “orphan” and “bereft”) embodies and reinforces your central themes about the attitudes that fathers bequeath to their children, and about how these attitudes are simultaneously a burden and a resource, a curse and a blessing, a gift and a debt, a source of anxiety but also a source of strength, a prison and potential liberation? Congratulations on your analysis and the presentation of your thinking.
    A.S.K.

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