Document Type

Honors Thesis


Over the last fifty years, visibility and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has increased, and this is reflected in the quantity and content of lesbian young adult novels. Five main tropes throughout the novels that I analyzed include: 1) the "miserable lesbian" which refers to lesbians depicted as unhappy and lonely, 2) the "lesbian victim" who has experienced acts of homophobia and violence as "punishment" for her sexuality, 3) the "confused parent" which deals with parents who think that they did something wrong while raising their daughter and that’s why she’s gay and/or they think that someone turned their daughter gay, 4) the “lesbian self-discovery” where she feels right with her sexuality and queer love interest, and 5) the “found family” trope that focuses on the importance of friends and the general queer community coming together to triumph over hardship and come together as a family when the biological family of a queer person is lacking. As the decades passed, the miserable lesbian trope slowly evolved into the found family trope that emphasizes LGBTQ+ people coming together and finding comfort, joy, and acceptance within the queer community. Throughout the various tropes connecting lesbian young adult novels, we can see how queer people have been treated in society over the last fifty years and how that has been reflected in literature.

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