University of Leicester
2020HUTANANNPhD.pdf (1.83 MB)

Homophobia In American Gay-Themed Young Adult Novels (2000-2010)

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posted on 2020-12-01, 22:18 authored by Nachanok Hutanan
This thesis explores a selection of ten gay-themed American young adult (YA) novels published in the 2000s, starting from Marlene Fanta Shyer’s The Rainbow Kite (2002) to P.E. Ryan’s In Mike We Trust (2009). It examines the manifestation of homophobia and the coping strategies proffered in these books. By situating the novels as part of “problem YA fiction,” which typically depicts issues that teenage characters have experienced and must deal with, I argue that although the primary texts are imbued with the representations of homophobia, they can be considered as the texts of resistance, calling for activism to challenge homophobic bigotry. This is not simply because the novels include potential tactics to cope with homophobia, but also because they point out that these strategies are the way through which omnipresence of power is managed and made use of by the gay teenage characters to resist homophobia.
In this thesis, the analysis is undertaken in four main areas in which homophobia is focalized in the texts: internalized homophobia, familial homophobia, homophobia in American high schools, and Christian-based homophobia. I explore the various strategies to deal specifically with homophobia in these domains and show how all collective power is awakened within multiple surrounding characters, who are recruited to join with the gay protagonists’ activism to combat homophobia. I contend that the novels present homophobia as a problem that everybody must be aware of and which must be eradicated. In this regard, I hold that the various novels under scrutiny constitute texts of activism.



Catherine Morley;

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of English

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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