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the queen of junk island

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Title: the queen of junk island
Author: Jones, Alexandra Mae
Program: Creative Writing
Advisor: Mootoo, Shani
Abstract: This thesis, which takes the form of a young adult novel following the journey of a teenage girl discovering her queerness, investigates how sexual and personal shame interact with trauma, and how a lack of transparency in sex ed can damage both familial and romantic relationships between women. Over the course of the novel, sixteen year old Dell navigates interweaving struggles that contribute to her persistent depression and depersonalization. First is the destruction of her self-image and personal relationship with her mother Anne after a boyfriend—whom she had kept secret from her mother—posted nude photos of her online. Second is the revelation that her mother has been hiding family secrets from her, including the existence of an aunt named Julie. Third is Dell’s discovery of her bisexuality as she develops an attraction to a teenage girl named Ivy, who happens to be Anne’s boyfriend’s daughter. This forms the main crux of the novel, as Dell is unable to accept the development of new sexual feelings when constant messaging from society, and from a traumatized mother, have reinforced for her the misconception that she already experiences more sexual feelings than girls are supposed to. Through the novel’s side characters, issues of privilege, racism, gender roles, and the discovery of other sexualities, such as asexuality, are also explored. The thesis uses the young adult genre to better investigate how trauma during the teen years affects the formation of a personal identity and sense of self, focusing specifically on how women form identity in a society that punishes the concept of women having control of their own sexual expression. Ultimately, the book delivers acceptance to all characters at the end of their journeys and repairs the fractured family units, subverting the common trope of queer narratives ending unhappily. It aims to serve as a hopeful story for teenage readers starting to discover who they are.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16965
Date: 2019-08-07
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