Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English Literature

Committee Chair

Sarah Sillin

Second Committee Member

Michel O'Brien

Third Committee Member

Anne Cubilie


The Young Adult Fantasy genre is often written off as a useless, or immature form of writing. However, there are studies that prove that this specific genre is not only engaging, but it is also empowering for young readers. By writing toward adolescent readers, authors are able to promote various ways in which their characters adjust or interact with their surroundings, which also influences their readers’ self and social awareness. By representing feminist perspectives and depicting the effects of trauma, YA literature fosters progressive social change and conveys the importance of mental health. In writing my own novel, The Night of Awakening, for my Douglas Honors College Thesis, I discovered how my own characters could represent young women’s power and mental health awareness to change long-standing institutions related to oppression and incorrect representations. My main character, Alina, is isolated from all those around her because of a mysterious power that has taken her hostage. While seemingly “powerless” in a world of magic, Alina embodies feminist power as she finds her own ways to battle ancient powers and acknowledge the trauma her own family has inflicted upon her. By using scholarly articles to meter my study, I was able to discover the ways in which my novel might impact the literature scene and influence young, impressionable minds.