Date Approved

2023

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Amanda K. Allen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Annette Wannamaker, Ph.D.

Abstract

This thesis is the first academic work to analyze the stories of the Type 1 diabetic teen girls of adolescent fiction. In novels for adolescent readers, these girls are often White, female, heterosexual, and middle class—resulting in a collective disability narrative that portrays an “every girl” and lacks cultural or political dimensions. This thesis explores the narratives of five fictional teen protagonists with Type 1 diabetes. They are: Stacey McGill from the Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, Rachel Deering in Lurlene McDaniel’s Will I Ever Dance Again? (1982), Mackenzie “Zie” Clark in Sarah White’s Let Me List the Ways (2018), Lucy Szabo in Pete Hautman’s Sweetblood (2003), and Virginia “Dare” Chase in Sarah Glenn Marsh’s The Girls Are Never Gone (2021). In these novels, diabetes is often made visible through moments of crisis—exemplifying what disability scholars David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder (2000) refer to as “disability as a material metaphor,” and ultimately furthering what American author Jeffery Bennett (2019) refers to as diabetes’ “crisis of signification.”

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