Date Approved

2011

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Annette Wannamaker, PhD. Chair

Committee Member

Amanda Allen, PhD

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to explore and to challenge heteronormative assumptions regarding childhood and adolescence. I will show how these assumptions affect the literature published and made available to young readers, and how, often, overtly queer texts are not available for young readers. Such omissions leave young readers, especially those with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgendered (LGBT) identities, to find depictions of queerness in subtexts underlying seemingly “straight” texts. While these queer subtexts can be recognizable to readers through the use of culturally and historically significant markers that are understood to represent queerness, even a text with a widely recognized queer subtext does not preclude straight readings. Similarly, a queer subtext can exist solely for a reader with no intentional work done on the part of the creators. Queer subtexts, ultimately, work in subtle ways to subvert heteronormative assumptions and, in the process, create recognizable representations of queerness.

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