To what extent do techniques used in YA fiction succeed in presenting reality convincingly? Make reference to TWO texts (maximum ONE set text)Young Adult Fiction is the genre of books aimed at teenagers and young adults. The reason these books are targeted at an older audience is due to the more adult-like features within the books. The most common themes found in these books are themes of identity, sexuality, racism, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and bullying.
These taboo themes are what differentiate the books from other fiction aimed at a younger audience. A large factor in what makes Young Adult Fiction so successful is realism. The wide audience that is Teenagers and Young adults are not particularly big fans of fantasy, artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements, like there were in their younger years. In other words, they want books that they can relate to, rather than books they can only dream about.
Realism is the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality. Many Young Adult Fiction books use various techniques in order to portray an authentic reality. The two novels that will be investigated in this essay are Go Ask Alice by ‘anonymous’, and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Both of these books feature a young adult narrator, and have realism motifs.Paragraph 1:One huge aspect in creating successful Young Adults fiction is making the story relatable. Writing books in a first-person diary format is extremely popular among YAF authors, due to the allowance of scattered thoughts and personal opinions that may not be present in a more traditional second-person format. Go Ask Alice is a good example of this, as the book is accordingly written in first person by ‘Anonymous’.
The book itself was marketed as a non-fiction diary written by ‘Anonymous’, who the publisher chose to be named as Alice. Although the book was published in this way, it is actually believed that the novel was the fictional work of Beatrice Sparks (one of the book’s editors and the author of several fictional teen ‘diaries’). This could show that the ‘anonymous’ idea was actually a marketing technique to try and give the book more context and help make the book much more relatable and less like a fictional book.
When looking at the book as though it was a real diary, Alice is presented as she should be, with her observations and experiences told to the reader, no matter how significant or insignificant. Even if the book is fictional, the author still portrays Alice in a realistic way, allowing her to speak in her own language, with a first-person account that makes her experiences foreign to some readers, as it would be in a real diary.Aside from the format of Go Ask Alice there are many factors of the book that help to portray a convincing and authentic reality.
The subject of drugs and sex is supposedly very much relatable to Young Adults who often get caught up in such things as they grow into adolescence. Go Ask Alice is a diary that indisputably evokes the drug and sex-saturated atmosphere of the late 1960s. Alice is caught in the centre of the societal struggle, and her diary reflects on her experiences and feelings. She bears ordinary bourgeois aspirations, like marriage, but also despises the hypocrisy of the society she lives in, where it is easier for minors to acquire illegal drugs than acquire alcohol. Alice’s issues are as relevant now as they were in the 1960s.
She begins as an insecure young girl who worries about sex and popularity, and these anxieties continue throughout her diary. Sex persistently plays on her mind, whether it’s through her fear of pregnancy or dependency on men, and she carries on being concerned with what other people think of her, especially when she goes “straight.” This is very relatable to real-life where everyone is concerned how other people perceive them, with a hard hitting pressure to have sex and grow up fast. Alice also grows long, straight hippie-style hair and uses slang and informal language like “Dig” and “man” that was popular at that time. Many Young Adults can relate to such things as this is the time in their life where they can experiment with their looks and what they do.
“Fiction directed at the burgeoning YA market has started to foreground controversial issues such as sex and drugs in an aggressively realistic and streetwise style, with a view to being shocking and therefore attractive to a teen market’ (Hewings and Watson, 2009, in Montgomery and Watson 2009) This supports the idea that Young Adults favour relatable books, with realistic forms.Another way in which Go Ask Alice portrays a convincing reality is through the characters within the book.Paragraph 2: Despite this, it could be argued that the techniques used in Young Adult Fiction does not succeed in presenting reality convincingly, as the reality in fictional books are not true representations of reality in the real world. ‘…
objects presented in a literary work acquire the character of reality, but this is merely an external apparel which has no pretension to be taken quite seriously by the reader…'(Ingarden, 1973). Ingarden argues that what happens in fictional literature can not be taken seriously in regards to the real world, due to fictional literature creating a ‘quasi-real’ world. Quasi translates from latin to ‘as if, almost’. A quasi-real world is talking about the world within fiction that is supposedly the real world, but in reality it isn’t. For example, Whatever happens in the story; what a character might say or do, in a fictional world is neither true or false, because it only applies to the fictional world. Fictional utterances are not statements or judgments about the extra-artistic reality.
It is wrong to take events, statements etc out of their fictional context and ‘saturate’ them with extra-artistic content.When looking at Go Ask Alice it is easy enough for the publishers to state that the book was made from a real diary, however the story is a little far fetched to be non-fiction. The world that Alice lived in was very dark and could be argued as completely fictional due to a number of problems with the plot that couldn’t occur in real life.