Final Draft of Prospectus

The Question

            Within young adult literature, I have found a particular interest in how the literature depicts the issue of unplanned teen pregnancy and parenting.  This is a serious issue in society today as it affects many families.  In fact, during my student teaching, I had a girl in each of my two classes who had a baby.  One teen was a tenth grader with a one year old son, and the other a freshman who just returned to school from her “maternity leave” in the middle of the school year.  These girls had a hard time keeping up with the homework because, obviously, they had other pressing matters to attend to outside of school.  Aside from having to be responsible for a child at home, these girls needed to deal with the fact that they were unmarried, ridiculed by family, and looked down upon by some classmates for having gotten pregnant in the first place.

            I thought it would be interesting to research and learn about how pregnant teens deal with their pregnancies and responsibilities as young parents.  My interest includes in finding out how they see themselves coping with becoming young parents, finishing school and if they see a worthwhile future for themselves.  In short, how does an unplanned pregnancy in young adult literature change a teen’s life and force her to grow up and become an adult?  Furthermore, how does the literature mirror or deflate the reality?

Bibliographical Essay – Final Draft

            As I read more and more on my field of interest, I begin to realize how broad Young Adult Literature (“YAL”) actually is.  My research has helped me to select and narrow the actual focus of my research.  However, narrowing my focus on a select topic in the genre also means having to revise my bibliography.  I find myself disregarding a number of articles I initially found and going back to the Queens College library catalogue to find other articles more relevant and appropriate to my research.

            Within YAL, I have discovered a particular interest in the focus on teen pregnancy and teen parenting, and its representation in literature.  It is a real concern in the United States today as the numbers found in my research suggest that about a million teens become pregnant every year.  Almost all of these are likely unplanned pregnancies.

            I have found differing opinions about the degree of accuracy when depicting the struggles teens face when dealing with unplanned pregnancies and teen parenting, though most research shows that the literature out there lacks in one way or another.  The literature misrepresents the statistics.  In reality unplanned pregnancies are present in all social circles and the 40% of those who choose to abort their pregnancies merely happen to be from the upper social class.  Those teen girls who come from poor families are more likely to go through with their pregnancy and keep their babies, and research indicates that only 3% choose to give away their babies to adoption.  The literature misrepresents these actual facts, choosing instead to give hopeful outcomes.  The predicaments the characters find themselves almost always allow for some positive break to help the unfortunate teen make it through the day.  Reality is a lot harsher and some critics are concerned that the literature cannot really help those who have to deal with raising kids as teenagers. 

            The novels focusing on teen pregnancy and/or teen parenting present a more optimistic picture surrounding the circumstances of teen pregnancy and teen parenting than what these individuals really experience in reality.  This brings up several questions, such as, how helpful are these books to the teens who turn to literature for some answers?  And how accurately does the literature represent the real life situations?  If this literature is meant to help out those who are facing these issues in reality, is it really helpful or just an interesting story to read?

            As a whole, the literature attempts to address an issue common to many teens who either are or know of someone going through teen pregnancy and parenting.  However, the attempt is a poor one because the novels provide unrealistic scenarios, or at the very least omit race and religion and the impact it may have on the pregnant teen and her family.  Though there is a baby in the lives of the young characters and calls for many important decisions, these decisions are aided by some sort of support which is, often, not there in reality.  The readers can sympathize with the characters but realize that real life is a bit different than what they read in their novels.

Annotated Working Bibliography

Adams, Gina, Adams-Taylor, Sharon and Pittman, Karen.  “Adolescent Pregnancy        and Parenthood: A Review of the Problem, Solutions, and Resources.”           Family Relations: 38.2 (April 1989), pp. 223-229.

            The authors of this article have done their research on actual teen pregnancy and parenthood.  The numbers are frightening.  Surprisingly, their research shows that social class does not indicate a higher/lower pregnancy rate.  Rather, those who come from families with means are more likely to abort, leaving more babies actually born to poor teen parents.  Their essay points out that there is not enough done today to teach teens about protection, as over 50% of teens 15 and older are sexually active, and not enough to motivate teens to avoid premature parenting.  This article puts more importance on reducing and eliminating unplanned pregnancies rather than the articles advocating for more YAL depicting realistic circumstances for pregnant teens and parents to relate to.

Aquilino, William S. “The Life Course of Children Born to Unmarried Mothers:             Childhood Living Arrangements and Young Adult Outcomes.” Journal of     Marriage and Family: 58.2 (May 1996), pp. 293-310.

            Based on his research, Aquilino reports his article about the changes and sacrifices teens need to make when becoming young parents.  He also discusses what life is often like for the child.

Davis, Joy B. and MacGillivray, Laurie.  “Books about Teen Parents: Messages and   Omissions.”  The English Journal: 90.3 (January 2001), pp. 90-96.

            Joy Davis and Laurie MacGillivray discusses teen pregnancy and parenting through exploring the issues in the following eight key points:
(1) Don’t have unprotected sex even once.
(2) Most mothers keep their babies.
(3) Having a baby may put your education on hold, but you can still achieve your goals.
(4) When you are pregnant, you are on your own.
(5) For guys, sex is about fun.  For girls, sex is about…
(6) Young women have to live with consequences, young men don’t.
(7) Teen pregnancies do not mandate marriage.
(8) Teens from “troubled homes,” or their partners, are more likely to become pregnant.
            The authors of this article believe that the fictional literature about teen pregnancy and parenting produces realistic dilemmas and could be very useful for pregnant teens, their friends, and even adults to help explain the potential reasons for this predicament.  The article does, however, point out a few flaws in all of the literature research for this study and that is that there is a lack of race and class, prenatal care, and informative discussion with adults about the necessity of using birth control, prior to becoming pregnant.

J. O’Quinn, Elaine.  “Where the Girls Are.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 8-14.

            Elaine O’Quinn explores girls and the issues surrounding and influencing them in life.  She discusses girls’ body images, their role models, the importance of their reputation, and Hollywood’s role in forming these girls.  I do not think this article applies to my research, unless I find a connection between girls’ opinion of themselves and the outside influences resulting in teen pregnancies and parenting.

Miller Coffel, Cynthia.  “Stories of Teen Mothers: Fiction and Nonfiction.”  The           ALAN Review 35 (2008): 45-54.

            Cynthia Miller Coffer in her article confronts the literature about teen pregnancy and teen parenting and its effects and influences on those readers who are pregnant teenagers or teens parents.  She refers to past articles focusing on this issue and explores a number of specific texts with her pregnant students, and considers their feedback in her exploration of the limited scope of the topic in the genre.

            Coffer disqualifies the literature as giving a fair representation of what pregnant girl and teen parents actually face in reality.  “I agree with Nichols: most of the YA novels I have read, for this article and for ‘Strong Portraits and Stereotypes,’ seem to me to be overly positive about the lives teen mothers lead” (46).

            In her article she cites other literature to provide reasons and causes of teen pregnancy. 

(1)   The wrong-girl frame.  “This discourse suggest that there is something wrong with the girl, that she is rebellious or confused, without goals, overly sexual or irresponsible in the way she thinks about relationships, parenting, boys, or her body” (46).

(2)   The wrong society frame.  “This discourse takes issue with the notion of individual choices, arguing that choices are highly dependent on a  girl’s material resources and the cultural meanings she makes of sex, pregnancy, and early motherhood” (46).

(3)   The wrong family frame.  This reason for early pregnancy blames how “the family of the pregnant teen has raised their daughter” (46).

(4)   The final reason Coffel provides is having children before marriage is just simply wrong.

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”      The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 30-38.

            Kristen Nichols cites that close to a million teens become pregnant every year in the U.S.  She says that about 40% of pregnant teens choose to have abortions and the literature does not reflect this truth.  While in reality only 3% choose to give away their baby up for adoption the novels show this as a more favorable choice; 35% in novels.  Those who choose to be young parents are represented very close in literature to actual statistics.
            Kristen is disappointed with the representation of this serious issue in such a false way.  “The young adult novels may end on a hopeful note for the parenting teens, but the reality of teen parenting is less positive” (36).

Plummer, Louise.  A Dance for Three.  New York: Delacorte Pres, 2003.

            This is a story about a 15 year old girl who believed in fairytales about happy endings when she first became pregnant.  Life and reality were very different for her and we get a glimpse of the different perspectives from the author.

Porter, Connie Rose.  Imani All Mine.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

            This is the story of a 15 year old rape victim who must now care for the baby girl that resulted after the heinous incident.  The book explores her feelings, fears, struggles, and even some triumphs.

Wolf, Virginia Euwer.  Make Lemonade.  New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2003

            In this book, LaVaughn, the main character, is the babysitter for a teen mother of two.  Life throws many stones in Jolly’s direction but when life gets rough we learn make lemonade to make it through the hard times.  This book is actually the first of a trilogy.

Draft of Prospectus

The Question

            Within young adult literature, I have found a particular interest in how the literature depicts the issue of unplanned teen pregnancy and parenting.  This is a serious issue in society today as it affects many families.  In fact, during my student teaching, I had a girl in each of my two classes who had a baby.  One teen was a tenth grader with a one year old son, and the other a freshman who just returned to school from her “maternity leave” in the middle of the school year.  These girls had a hard time keeping up with the homework because, obviously, they had other pressing matters to attend to outside of school.  Aside from having to be responsible for a child a home, these girls needed to deal with the fact that they were unmarried, ridiculed by family, and looked down upon by some classmates for having gotten pregnant at all.

            I thought it would be interesting to research and learn about how pregnant teens deal with their pregnancies and responsibilities as young parents.  My interest includes in finding out how they see themselves coping with becoming young parents, finishing school and if they see a worthwhile future for themselves.  In short, how does an unplanned pregnancy change a teen’s life and force her to grow up and become an adult?

Bibliographical Essay – Draft

            As I read more and more on my field of interest, I begin to realize how broad Young Adult Literature (“YAL”) actually is.  My research has helped me to select and narrow the actual focus of my research.  However, narrowing my focus on a select topic in the genre also means having to revise my bibliography.  I find myself disregarding a number of articles I initially found and going back to the Queens College library catalogue to find other articles more relevant and appropriate to my research.

            Within YAL, I have discovered a particular interest in the focus on teen pregnancy and teen parenting, and its representation in literature.  It is a real concern in the United States today as the numbers found in my research suggest that about a million teens become pregnant every year.  Almost all of these are likely unplanned pregnancies.

            I have found differing opinions about the degree of accuracy when depicting the struggles teens face when dealing with unplanned pregnancies and teen parenting, though most research shows that the literature out there lacks in one way or another.  The literature misrepresents the statistics.  In reality unplanned pregnancies are present in all social circles and the 40% of those who choose to abort their pregnancies merely happen to be from the upper social class.  Those teen girls who come from poor families are more likely to go through with their pregnancy and keep their babies, and research indicates that only 3% choose to give away their babies to adoption.  The literature misrepresents these actual facts, choosing instead to give hopeful outcomes.  The predicaments the characters find themselves almost always allow for some positive break to help the unfortunate teen make it through the day.  Reality is a lot harsher and some critics are concerned that the literature cannot really help those who have to deal with raising kids as teenagers. 

            The novels focusing on teen pregnancy and/or teen parenting present a more optimistic picture surrounding the circumstances of teen pregnancy and teen parenting than what these individuals really experience in reality.  This brings up several questions, such as, how helpful are these books to the teens who turn to literature for some answers?  And how accurately does the literature represent the real life situations?  If this literature is meant to help out those who are facing these issues in reality, is it really helpful or just an interesting story to read?

            As a whole, the literature attempts to address an issue common to many teens who either are or know of someone going through teen pregnancy and parenting.  However, the attempt is a poor one because the novels provide unrealistic scenerios, or that very least omit race and religion and the impact it may have on the pregnant teen and her family.  Though there is a baby in the lives of the young characters and calls for many important decisions, these decisions are aided by some sort of support which is not there in reality.  The readers can sympathize with the characters but realize that real life is a bit different than what they read in their novels.

Annotated Working Bibliography

Adams, Gina, Adams-Taylor, Sharon and Pittman, Karen.  “Adolescent Pregnancy        and Parenthood: A Review of the Problem, Solutions, and Resources.”           Family Relations: 38.2 (April 1989), pp. 223-229.

            The authors of this article have done their research on actual teen pregnancy and parenthood.  The numbers are frightening.  Surprisingly, their research shows that social class does not indicate a higher/lower pregnancy rate.  Rather, those who come from families with means are more likely to abort, leaving more babies actually born to poor teen parents.  Their essay points out that there is not enough done today to teach teens about protection, as over 50% of teens 15 and older are sexually active, and not enough to motivate teens to avoid premature parenting.  This article puts more importance on reducing and eliminating unplanned pregnancies rather than the articles advocating for more YAL depicting realistic circumstances for pregnant teens and parents to relate to.

Aquilino, William S. “The Life Course of Children Born to Unmarried Mothers:             Childhood Living Arrangements and Young Adult Outcomes.” Journal of     Marriage and Family: 58.2 (May 1996), pp. 293-310.

            Based on his research, Aquilino reports his article about the changes and sacrifices teens need to make when becoming young parents.  He also discusses what life is often like for the child.

Davis, Joy B. and MacGillivray, Laurie.  “Books about Teen Parents: Messages and   Omissions.”  The English Journal: 90.3 (January 2001), pp. 90-96.

            Joy Davis and Laurie MacGillivray dicuss teen pregnancy and parenting through exploring the issues in the following eight key points:
(1) Don’t have unprotected sex even once.
(2) Most mothers keep their babies.
(3) Having a baby may put your education on hold, but you can still achieve your goals.
(4) When you are pregnant, you are on your own.
(5) For guys, sex is about fun.  For girls, sex is about…
(6) Young women have to live with consequences, young men don’t.
(7) Teen pregnancies do not mandate marriage.
(8) Teens from “troubled homes,” or their partners, are more likely to become pregnant.
            The authors of this article believe that the fictional literature about teen pregnancy and parenting produces realistic dilemmas and could be very useful for pregnant teens, their friends, and even adults to help explain the potential reasons for this predicament.  The article does, however, point out a few flaws in all of the literature research for this study and that is that there is a lack of race and class, prenatal care, and informative discussion with adults about the necessity of using birth control, prior to becoming pregnant.

J. O’Quinn, Elaine.  “Where the Girls Are.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 8-14.

            Elaine O’Quinn explores girls and the issues surrounding and influencing them in life.  She discusses girls’ body images, their role models, the importance of their reputation, and Hollywood’s role in forming these girls.  I do not think this article applies to my research, unless I find a connection between girls’ opinion of themselves, their outside influences to resulting in teen pregnancies and parenting.

Miller Coffel, Cynthia.  “Stories of Teen Mothers: Fiction and Nonfiction.”  The           ALAN Review 35 (2008): 45-54.

            Cynthia Miller Coffer in her article confronts the literature about teen pregnancy and teen parenting and its effects and influences on those readers who are pregnant teenagers or teens parents.  She refers to past articles focusing on this issue and explores a number of specific texts with her pregnant students, and considers their feedback in her exploration of the limited scope of the topic in the genre.

            Coffer disqualifies the literature as giving a fair representation of what pregnant girl and teen parents actually face in reality.  “I agree with Nichols: most of the YA novels I have read, for this article and for ‘Strong Portraits and Stereotypes,’ seem to me to be overly positive about the lives teen mothers lead” (46).

            In her article she cites other literature to provide reasons and causes of teen pregnancy. 

(1)   The wrong-girl frame.  “This discourse suggest that there is something wrong with the girl, that she is rebellious or confused, without goals, overly sexual or irresponsible in the way she thinks about relationships, parenting, boys, or her body” (46).

(2)   The wrong society frame.  “This discourse takes issue with the notion of individual choices, arguing that choices are highly dependent on a  girl’s material resources and the cultural meanings she makes of sex, pregnancy, and early motherhood” (46).

(3)   The wrong family frame.  This reason for early pregnancy blames how “the family of the pregnant teen has raised their daughter” (46).

(4)   The final reason Coffel provides is having children before marriage is just simply wrong.

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”      The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 30-38.

            Kristen Nichols cites that close to a million teens become pregnant every year in the U.S.  She says that about 40% of pregnant teens choose to have abortions and the literature does not reflect this truth.  While in reality only 3% choose to give away their baby up for adoption the novels show this as a more favorable choice; 35% in novels.  Those who choose to be young parents are represented very close in literature to actual statistics.
            Kristen is disappointed with the representation of this serious issue in such a false way.  “The young adult novels may end on a hopeful note for the parenting teens, but the reality of teen parenting is less positive” (36).

Plummer, Louise.  A Dance for ThreeNew York: Delacorte Pres, 2003.

            This is a story about a 15 year old girl who believed in fairytales about happy endings when she first became pregnant.  Life and reality were very different for her and we get a glimpse of the different perspectives from the author.

Porter, Connie Rose.  Imani All Mine.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

            This is the story of a 15 year old rape victim who must now care for the baby girl that resulted after the heinous incident.  The book explores her feelings, fears, struggles, and even some triumphs.

Wolf, Virginia Euwer.  Make LemonadeNew York: Scholastic, Inc., 2003

            In this book, LaVaughn, the main character, is the babysitter for a teen mother of two.  Life throws many stones in Jolly’s direction but when life gets rough we learn make lemonade to make it through the hard times.  This book is actually the first of a trilogy.

Draft of Annotated Bibliography – Assignment #7

Adams, Gina, Adams-Taylor, Sharon and Pittman, Karen.  “Adolescent Pregnancy        and Parenthood: A Review of the Problem, Solutions, and Resources.”           Family Relations: 38.2 (April 1989), pp. 223-229.

            The authors of this article have done their research on actual teen pregnancy and parenthood.  The numbers are frightening.  Surprisingly, their research shows that social class does not indicate a higher/lower pregnancy rate.  Rather, those who come from families with means are more likely to abort, leaving more babies actually born to poor teen parents.  Their essay points out that there is not enough done today to teach teens about protection, as over 50% of teens 15 and older are sexually active, and not enough to motivate teens to avoid premature parenting.  This article puts more importance on reducing and eliminating unplanned pregnancies rather than the articles advocating for more YAL depicting realistic circumstances for pregnant teens and parents to relate to.

Aquilino, William S. “The Life Course of Children Born to Unmarried Mothers:             Childhood Living Arrangements and Young Adult Outcomes.” Journal of     Marriage and Family: 58.2 (May 1996), pp. 293-310.

            Based on his research, Aquilino reports his article about the changes and sacrifices teens need to make when becoming young parents.  He also discusses what life is often like for the child.

Davis, Joy B. and MacGillivray, Laurie.  “Books about Teen Parents: Messages and   Omissions.”  The English Journal: 90.3 (January 2001), pp. 90-96.

            Joy Davis and Laurie MacGillivray dicuss teen pregnancy and parenting through exploring the issues in the following eight key points:
(1) Don’t have unprotected sex even once.
(2) Most mothers keep their babies.
(3) Having a baby may put your education on hold, but you can still achieve your goals.
(4) When you are pregnant, you are on your own.
(5) For guys, sex is about fun.  For girls, sex is about…
(6) Young women have to live with consequences, young men don’t.
(7) Teen pregnancies do not mandate marriage.
(8) Teens from “troubled homes,” or their partners, are more likely to become pregnant.
            The authors of this article believe that the fictional literature about teen pregnancy and parenting produces realistic dilemmas and could be very useful for pregnant teens, their friends, and even adults to help explain the potential reasons for this predicament.  The article does, however, point out a few flaws in all of the literature research for this study and that is that there is a lack of race and class, prenatal care, and informative discussion with adults about the necessity of using birth control, prior to becoming pregnant.

J. O’Quinn, Elaine.  “Where the Girls Are.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 8-14.

            Elaine O’Quinn explores girls and the issues surrounding and influencing them in life.  She discusses girls’ body images, their role models, the importance of their reputation, and Hollywood’s role in forming these girls.  I do not think this article applies to my research, unless I find a connection between girls’ opinion of themselves, their outside influences to resulting in teen pregnancies and parenting.

Miller Coffel, Cynthia.  “Stories of Teen Mothers: Fiction and Nonfiction.”  The           ALAN Review 35 (2008): 45-54.

            Cynthia Miller Coffer in her article confronts the literature about teen pregnancy and teen parenting and its effects and influences on those readers who are pregnant teenagers or teens parents.  She refers to past articles focusing on this issue and explores a number of specific texts with her pregnant students, and considers their feedback in her exploration of the limited scope of the topic in the genre.

            Coffer disqualifies the literature as giving a fair representation of what pregnant girl and teen parents actually face in reality.  “I agree with Nichols: most of the YA novels I have read, for this article and for ‘Strong Portraits and Stereotypes,’ seem to me to be overly positive about the lives teen mothers lead” (46).

            In her article she cites other literature to provide reasons and causes of teen pregnancy. 

(1)   The wrong-girl frame.  “This discourse suggest that there is something wrong with the girl, that she is rebellious or confused, without goals, overly sexual or irresponsible in the way she thinks about relationships, parenting, boys, or her body” (46).

(2)   The wrong society frame.  “This discourse takes issue with the notion of individual choices, arguing that choices are highly dependent on a  girl’s material resources and the cultural meanings she makes of sex, pregnancy, and early motherhood” (46).

(3)   The wrong family frame.  This reason for early pregnancy blames how “the family of the pregnant teen has raised their daughter” (46).

(4)   The final reason Coffel provides is having children before marriage is just simply wrong.

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”      The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 30-38.

            Kristen Nichols cites that close to a million teens become pregnant every year in the U.S.  She says that about 40% of pregnant teens choose to have abortions and the literature does not reflect this truth.  While in reality only 3% choose to give away their baby up for adoption the novels show this as a more favorable choice; 35% in novels.  Those who choose to be young parents are represented very close in literature to actual statistics.
            Kristen is disappointed with the representation of this serious issue in such a false way.  “The young adult novels may end on a hopeful note for the parenting teens, but the reality of teen parenting is less positive” (36).

Plummer, Louise.  A Dance for ThreeNew York: Delacorte Pres, 2003.

            This is a story about a 15 year old girl who believed in fairytales about happy endings when she first became pregnant.  Life and reality were very different for her and we get a glimpse of the different perspectives from the author.

Porter, Connie Rose.  Imani All Mine.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

            This is the story of a 15 year old rape victim who must now care for the baby girl that resulted after the heinous incident.  The book explores her feelings, fears, struggles, and even some triumphs.

Wolf, Virginia Euwer.  Make LemonadeNew York: Scholastic, Inc., 2003

            In this book, LaVaughn, the main character, is the babysitter for a teen mother of two.  Life throws many stones in Jolly’s direction but when life gets rough we learn make lemonade to make it through the hard times.  This book is actually the first of a trilogy.

First Draft of Bibliographical Essay

As I read more and more on my field of interest, I begin to realize how broad Young Adult Literature (“YAL”) actually is.  My research has helped me to select and narrow the actual focus of my research.  However, narrowing my focus on a select topic in the genre also means having to revise my bibliography.  I find myself disregarding a number of articles I initially added and going back to the Queens College library catalogue to find other articles more relevant and appropriate to my research.

            Within YAL, I have discovered a particular interest in the focus on teen pregnancy and ten parenting, and its representation in literature.  My research has shown that the literature has not shown an accurate representation of or often times completely omitts the circumstances of or leading to teen pregnancy and the choices made by the effected teens.  The literature, unfortunately also omits to a great degree the impact these unwanted pregnancies have on other family members.

            The novels focusing on teen pregnancy and/or teen parenting present a more optimistic picture surrounding the circumstances of teen pregnancy and teen parenting than what these individuals really experience in reality.  This brings up several questions, such as, how helpful are these books to the teens who turn to literature for some answers?

            As a whole, the literature attempts to address an issue common to many teens who are either are or know of someone going through teen pregnancy and parenting.  However, the attempt is a poor one because the novels provide unrealistic scenerios that pregnant teens and adolescent parents cannot relate to.  Though there is a baby in the lives of the young characters and calls for many important decisions, these decisions are aided by some sort of support which is not there in reality.  The readers can sympathize with the characters but realize that real life is a bit different than what they read in their novels.

Assignment #5 – Critical Voice

Kristen Nichols’ article about teen pregnancy and parenting in young adult literature versus teen pregnancy and parenting in reality gave me an entirely new direction when looking at YAL.  In her study she mentions that teen pregnancies are discussed in novels but often times the stories are too optimistic and unrealistic.  If so, then how much help do these novels really provide to the teens facing these issues in reality if the literature depicts mostly unrealistic stories with happy endings.  And do the teens who are facing teen pregnancy and parenting really turn to literature for guidance?  Do they have the time between school, parenting, and figuring out how to support themselves and the baby to even refer to the limited literature for guidance? 

                I found Kristen’s voice in her conclusion, where she reflects on the research she presents. 

Overall, this study suggests that the reality and fiction of the options surrounding teen pregnancy do not match. While forty percent of pregnant teens choose abortion (“Facts in Brief”; Luker 155), this option is rarely chosen by protagonists in young adult literature, conveying an impression that abortion is not commonly chosen. By contrast to abortion, adoption is well represented as an option. Only three percent of pregnant teens choose adoption (Stewart, Teen Parenting 8), but the authors favor this choice for their protagonists. With regard to parenting, the primary discrepancy between reality and fiction is the overwhelming financial and familial support the parenting teens in the novels receive. In reality many teens do not receive much support from their families (Aitkens 13; Stewart, Teen Mothers 17). Young adult novels often end optimistically, so if authors decide that their protagonists will keep the children, giving the protagonists financial and familial support allows for the “happily ever after” ending. Whatever the reasons behind authors’ representations of character choices, the misrepresentations could mislead their readers. Teen pregnancy remains a serious issue since almost one million teenagers become pregnant each year (“Facts in Brief”). It also comprises a popular topic in young adult literature. Unfortunately, however, many young adult novels featuring teen pregnancy or parenthood are truly fictional and do not adequately reflect the realities of the situation. In addition, unless the reader is Caucasian and middle-class, he or she has few protagonists with which to identify. Though the authors included in this study do portray some of the realities of teen pregnancy and parenthood, the entire story remains inadequately told. Future novels on teen pregnancy and parenthood should consider a greater variety of the realities of the situation confronting teens, their families, and their friends.

I think my questions echo her concerns for the reading teenager.  There is very little literature that reflects real life scenarios and realistic outcomes.  When in reality, teenagers from poverty and no familial support are faced with teen pregnancy and parenting, how can they receive any valuable guidance from the literature targeted specifically at them ?

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”  The ALAN Review 34

(2007): 30-38.

Assignment 4 – Thesis Question

Why does young adult literature have such a strong influence on girls?

When researching about young adult literature, I came across a numerous number of articles connecting teenage girls to the genre.  When thinking about YAL, I assumed that there would be a distinction between different opinions about who fits into the young adult category:  teenagers, middle and high school students, perhaps even individuals in their early twenties?  There are some great works of literature that fall under the YA genre, such as Harry Potter which obviously attracted more than any definition of young adult.  So who is young adult targeted at?  In my research, I expected to find evidence falling under age groups.  I did not expect to find articles concentrating on the effects of YAL on girls.  A gender split is not something I considered and therefore I am interested to explore how and why YAL interests and influences young girls.

I have a few ideas about where my research will lead me.  It will be interesting to see if any of this really is a part of the attraction girls have for young adult texts.

One of the reasons I think girls, in particular, are drawn to this genre is because so many of these books, especially the more recent ones, add romance to the story, such as is found in Twilight and The Vampire Academy.  I know that when I read customer reviews online, it seems almost always that they are written from a female point of view, and of course most comments are about the love story, and the girls’ fascination with the hero.  It seems that young girls just love the idea of love, and a lot of the books in this genre feed that desire.

Another thought I had on this topic is that a lot of teens go through a difficult phase during this period of their lives.  Perhaps girls are more affected by the changes, insecurities, and esteem issues and prefer to escape into a world where all good overcomes evil and the awkward girl finds her true love in the process.

Assignment 3 – Second Article Assignment

Since the article assignments will potentially lead to a prospectus and later a thesis I decided to research and learn about Young Adult Literature.  Unsure of what aspect of the huge genre I want to inspect, I signed into the Queens College library Academic Search Complete database.  I started a very broad search and merely typed the name of my topic of interest – Young Adult Literature.  The name of the first article from that search – “Kicking It Up Beyond The Casual: Fresh Perspectives in Young Adult Literature” by David Capella caught my attention because it is a recent article on this topic.

Capella, David.  “Kicking It Up Beyond The Casual: Fresh Perspectives in Young Adult

Literature.”  Studies in the Novel 42 1/2 (2010). Academic Search Complete.  Queens

College Library.  Article 52945152.  26 Sep. 2010 <http://web.ebscohost.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=108&sid=80fa096b-330a-4429-8b21-799af6086f84%40sessionmgr110&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=52945152>

To continue my search of relevant and, hopefully, related information I followed a lead in the notes section of that first article.  Capella notes that The ALAN Review is a journal devoted to Young Adult literature; furthermore, it showcases interviews of new authors, publishes reviews of new works, and the latest research trends in the field, among other things to do with Young Adult Literature.  I felt I hit a jackpot.  I was routed to The ALAN Review E-Journal site and decided to scroll through their most recent volume.  Immediately topics of interest caught my eye.

J. O’Quinn, Elaine.  “Where the Girls Are.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 8-14.

Following this article there was a page long bibliography, including cited works of Young Adult Literature, some of which I recognized.  Unfortunately, I was familiar with very few but I made a mental note to include these to my reading list for later, as well as look into the other cited works which have to do with the genre for the sake of this project.  After a very brief scan of the article, I realized that it is a defense of female characters within the Young Adult Literature genre.  This gave me somewhat of a direction.  I decided to scan this volume of the journal for more articles on females in Young Adult Literature (“YAL”).

Miller Coffel, Cynthia.  “Stories of Teen Mothers: Fiction and Nonfiction.”  The ALAN Review

35 (2008): 45-54.

This followed with more references to other works to be reviewed later for relevancy.  A further inspection of the same journal but earlier volumes produced more results.

Denean Cobb, Cicely.  “The Day That Daddy’s Baby Girl is Forced to Grow Up: The

Development of Adolescent Female Subjectivity in Mildred D. Taylor’s The Gold

Cadillac.”  The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 67-76.

 

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”  The ALAN

Review 34 (2007): 30-38.

After the last class I feel armed to do research using the Queens College Library.  I’ve also given more thought to the direction I want to take this research in.  From my previous research, I discovered a lot of reference in YAL to female readers.  It would be interesting to learn what connections have been made between young adult girls and the influences this genre had on them.  With these things in mind I continue my search.

I decided I wanted to bring in some recent young adult texts to serve as examples of the influence it has on teens today.  For this I chose to do a search on YAL and Twilight from the Social Sciences database.  My search produced only one result.  It was somewhat disappointing but understandable given the narrow search criteria.

Doyle, S.  “Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs.” American Prospect 20:9 (2009): 31-32.

Not satisfied with only one article to serve as an example, I went into the MLAInternational Bibliography database and refined my search to “Young Adult Literature” and “vampires.”  This, too, produced only one result, a book written for young adults and not one I am interested in including in this bibliography or in my thesis.   Perhaps I chose the wrong database for this search.

Trusted old JStor produced the following relevant results on Twilight.

Interview with Stephanie Meyer. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49. 7 ( 2006): 630-632.

It would seem that at this point I have no luck in finding something I think I can use for my research with reference to the Twilight books or movies.  Perhaps in these two references I will find all the information I need.  If not I can always dig for more if I am not satisfied or merely choose another popular young adult text to review in depth.  For now, I feel that my patience has been exhausted on this particular direction.

To pursue my research further, however, I will start revert to my first and broad search criteria in the MLA database.  I had to request the first two from the Inter-library Loan.

Bowles-Reyer, Amy Grace.  “Our Secret Garden: American Popular Young Adult

Literature in the 1970s and the Transmission of Sexual and Gender Ideology to Adolescent Girls”. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences: 58.12 (1998 June), pp. 4649-50.http://gateway.proquest.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:pqdiss&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:dissertation&rft_dat=xri:pqdiss:9817617

Haiken, Michele Leigh. “Representations of Adolescent Girls in Contemporary Young

Adult Fiction.” Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences 66.10 (2006): 3640-41. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.

Hayn, Judith A., and Lisa A. Spiegel. “Beyond Anne Frank and Scout: Females in

Young Adult Literature.” Breaking the Cycle: Gender, Literacy, and Learning. Ed. Lynne B. Alvine, Linda E. Cullum, and Maureen Barbieri. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999. 89-101. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.

Younger, Beth.  “Pleasure, Pain, and the Power of Being Thin: Female Sexuality in

Young Adult Literature”. NWSA Journal: National Women’s Studies

Association Journal: 15.2 ( 2003 Summer), pp. 45-56.

I didn’t find anything in the references for this article that I thought was worth pursuing.

I got the call number for the following book to be picked up from the Queens College Library.

Motes, Julia J.  “Teaching Girls to Be Girls: Young Adult Series Fiction”. New

Advocate: For Those Involved with Young People and Their Literature: 11.1 ( 1998 Winter), pp. 39-53.

Armed with these texts to begin my research, I feel confident I there will be interesting findings in the relationship between YAL and girls.  As the texts I ordered through the inter library loan come in I will have the opportunity to scan the referenced works and perhaps those references will take me further in my research.

Assignment # 2 – First Article Assignment

Since the article assignments will potentially lead to a prospectus and later a thesis I decided to research and learn about Young Adult Literature.  Unsure of what aspect of the huge genre I want to inspect, I signed into the Queens College library Academic Search Complete database.  I started a very broad search and merely typed the name of my topic of interest – Young Adult Literature.  The name of the first article from that search – “Kicking It Up Beyond The Casual: Fresh Perspectives in Young Adult Literature” by David Capella caught my attention because it is a recent article on this topic. 

Capella, David.  “Kicking It Up Beyond The Casual: Fresh Perspectives in Young Adult Literature.”  Studies in the Novel 42 1/2 (2010). Academic Search Complete.  Queens College Library.  Article 52945152.  26 Sep. 2010 <http://web.ebscohost.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=108&sid=80fa096b-330a-4429-8b21-799af6086f84%40sessionmgr110&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=52945152>

To continue my search of relevant and, hopeflly, related information I followed a lead in the notes section of that first article.  Capella notes that The ALAN Review is a journal devoted to Young Adult literature; furthermore, it showcases interviews of new authors, publishes reviews of new works, and the latest research trends in the field, among other things to do with Young Adult Literature.  I felt I hit a jackpot.  I was routed to The ALAN Review E-Journal site and decided to scroll through their most recent volume.  Immediately topics of interest caught my eye.

J. O’Quinn, Elaine.  “Where the Girls Are.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 8-14.

Following this article there was a page long bibliography, including cited works of Young Adult Literature, some of which I recognized.  Unfortunately, I was familiar with very few but I made a mental note to include these to my reading list for later, as well as look into the other cited works which have to do with the genre for the sake of this project.  After a very brief scan of the article, I realized that it is a defense of female characters within the Young Adult Literature genre.  This gave me somewhat of a direction.  I decided to scan this volume of the journal for more articles on females in Young Adult Literature (“YAL”).

Miller Coffel, Cynthia.  “Stories of Teen Mothers: Fiction and Nonfiction.”  The ALAN Review 35 (2008): 45-54.

This followed with more references to other works to be reviewed later for relevancy.  A further inspection of the same journal but earlier volumes produced more results.

Denean Cobb, Cicely.  “The Day That Daddy’s Baby Girl is Forced to Grow Up: The Development of Adolescent Female Subjectivity in Mildred D. Taylor’s The Gold Cadillac.”  The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 67-76.

 

Nichols, Kristen.  “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.”  The ALAN Review 34 (2007): 30-38.

Journal Assignment

The American Literature journal has undergone quite some changes over the past six decades particularly since the 1990s, including its preference of published content, editors, and the change in the gender in their staff journalists.  The journal has adapted to keep up with the changes and interests of its modern readers.

In November of 1950, American Literature primarily focused on biographical pieces.  Its critiques or historical pieces were written about other poets or writers like Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, and T.S. Elliot, or critiqued a classical text.  Articles followed a very conservative choice of topics and were generally written in a very conservative manner.

It is also worth noting that almost all of the articles are written by and about men.  There are no signs of female journalists until 1980, where only one has published an article.  By late fall in 1990 most of the articles are contributed by female writers to the journal, perhaps because there’s a female presence among the board of editors.

When reading some of the articles from the 1950, November issue, one cannot help but notice that the entire content of the article discusses the author and/or work alone.  In particular the article, “Charles-Louis Philippe and T.S. Eliot” by Grover Smith is one such article that focuses solely on the literary text.  The entire article follows a monotone style where the journalist discusses the different parts of the chosen text.  “The subject of the third ‘Prelude,’ the awakening of a woman in the slums, is directly from Chapter IV of Budu de Montparnasses, where Berthe the prostitute, who must presently confess to her lover Budu that she is infected with syphilis, stirs and rises from his bed” (Smith 255).

By the fall of 1990 there is a change in the content of the articles.  The articles choose a particular focus in a certain piece of literature or author and prefer to give their critique of that one aspect of the text including bringing in others’ viewpoints into their discussions.  In “The Satisfaction of What’s Difficult in Gwendolyn Brook’s Poetry,” an article from 1990 even the title suggests a more versatile view and analysis of the chosen topic.  It does not narrow its critique to merely the content, but rather incorporates other views, opinions, and critiques on the author and her works.  It is also interesting here that the writer of this article is a female and she has chose to discuss in her literary article works by another woman.  There is definitely a gender reversal in the staff of the paper as well as the gender preference in articles written by the now majority female staff.

The majority female staff could be a direct result of the change to a female editor at the journal.  Before 1990 the entire board of editors consisted of men.  By fall of 1990 we see more women join the board of editors including Cathy N. Davidson as the associate editor.  In that same issue of the journal the majority of the articles are written by women.  With the change in the board of editors there is also a change the length of the journal and the length of the individual articles, in addition to the content of the articles.

The new century brings yet more changes to the journal.  In year 2000 and on, there are several articles about slavery, anti-slavery, and racism.  Writers have chosen to analyze the work of African American authors and the relationship of their work to the effects of the Civil War. 

With more time the journal has become bold enough to use profanity in its articles, including in actual article titles as seen in the fall issue of 2008 article entitled, “That Damned Mob of Scribbling Siblings: The American Romance as Anti-novel in The Power of Sympathy and Pierre.”  This article is also a lot more direct in getting its message across, “Admittedly, it may seem that the business of the sentimental novel is to rescue abandoned adolescent girls from the risky and lascivious life that was the downfall of their eighteenth-century sisters, girls who if not exactly orphaned encountered sexual trouble at balls and boarding schools, or at the very least when their parents were out of the room” (Dill 707).  Though the content is referring to works in the 1850s there is no inhibition in using exactly the kind of words that will deliver the blatant message to the reader.

As anything else, American Literature has also adapted and modernized with the changing times.  The journal meets with the needs of its twenty first century readers, which demand and expect more from an article than just a recap and analysis of the story line alone.  Readers and researchers today are more interested in connections made between literary texts and the differing views of individuals interested in the field.

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