The Youth Lens: Analyzing Adolescence/ts in Literary Texts


Robert Petrone, Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides, Mark A. Lewis


Journal of Literacy Research


Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship that re-conceptualizes adolescence as a cultural construct, this article introduces a Youth Lens. A Youth Lens comprises an approach to textual analysis that examines howideas about adolescence and youth get formed, circulated, critiqued, andrevised. Focused specifically on its application to young adult literature, agenre of writing that explicitly names it audience, this article explores howa Youth Lens provides a much needed critical approach to interpreting andteaching young adult literature within literacy education, especially given the problematic representations of youth in many of these literarytexts. Specifically, this article a) discusses the central assumptions thatgovern a Youth Lens; b) provides an explanation of the lens, includingpublished and new examples and guiding questions; c) presents an in-depthcase of how a Youth Lens illuminates new possibilities forunderstanding The Hunger Games; and, d) offers specific implications aYouth Lens has for the analysis of young adult and other literary texts,approaches to teaching young adult literature courses for pre-service literacy teachers, and secondary literacy pedagogy involving young adult literature and media texts.



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