Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Christine Crockett

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The development of the novel cannot be separated from discussions about literary history, gender relations, performance, and the power literature has to instruct its audience. Women and young people have always comprised a substantial part of the novel’s readership, and this makes them powerful. The history of the novel is the history of dangerous literature; it is the history of works that have enchanted readers with “the power of example,” as Samuel Johnson wrote in the eighteenth century, that can lead them to change their behavior. This thesis explores how women in young adult literature—in the eighteenth century through Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778) and today through Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008)—use performance and vision to reveal and resist the social systems that try to define them. Evelina and Katniss, the heroines of these novels, provide their readers with examples of behaving in ways different than the normative model. Their stories, and the young women who read their stories, threaten the established social order of their worlds. The creative addition to this thesis provides readers with another young heroine who uses her powers, in a fantastical world, to reveal and resist the structures in her life.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.