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Age In Young Adult Fiction Essay

2313 words - 10 pages

When reading books such as Hunger Games or Ender’s Game, one thing that sets the story apart is the age of the main characters. Katniss Everdeen, the star of Hunger Games, is barely sixteen at the beginning of the games and many of the other contestants are even younger, down to the age of twelve. Ender from Ender’s Game is only eleven when the end of his story comes. Both of these main characters are still young, as are the majority of the other characters in both of these books, but this begs the question, because the main characters are young, is it appropriate for the readers to be young as well? Or is the term “Young Adult Literature” misleading?
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Lastly, young adult books should relate to on contemporary world perspectives. Even when the books are not set in present day, they must deal with the same world issues and societal issues that young adult readers face each day. The Young Adult Literature genre is a relatively new type of literature that is very complex, yet easily defined by its characters ages, their contexts, and the struggles they face.
Hunger Games by Collins and Ender’s Game by Card fit into this genre of young adult literature based upon the criteria of the genre. First, in both stories the main characters are young adult. Katniss is sixteen when she competes in the Hunger Games (Collins). Ender goes through school from ages six to eleven (Card). These are both in the age range, although Ender is on the young side of the spectrum. Both of their lives show this in many different ways. Katniss experiences many things teenage girls struggle with, one primarily is her love with Peeta, and with Gale as well as the confusion that causes her. Love is something most young girls deal with, and can very easily relate to. Also, there are many different times and places that Katniss experiences being pressured by the adults in her life, and wanting to gain freedom from them. Similarly, Ender struggles with pressure from adults in his life. Often He felt that he is being manipulated by the adults running the battle school, and wants to escape them. This is a struggle many adolescences have as they grow and mature; they often want to get out and away from the people that are in authority over them, whether that be parents, teachers, or other people in authority. The second way these books are young adult literature is the issues the characters work through in the story. As has already been discussed, both Katniss and Ender dealt with the struggle for independence against adults. In both stories the characters grow and mature into much more responsible and wise individuals. Katniss learns how to look out for others, and comes to understand that sacrifice is the greatest gift of love anyone can give. Ender learns that he can conquer anything if he sets his mind to it, even if he does not necessarily want to, as with the buggers. Through this, he also learned that it is always possible to right the injustices that he had caused. The last way both Hunger Games and Ender’s Game fit into young adult literature is through their political context. Ender’s Game was published in 1985, and when reading the book it is obvious why (Card). The world Ender lives in, although futuristic, is very concentrated on a tension with Russia and other dominant world powers. This is very similar to the Cold War that was going on during the time of the book’s original release. Hunger Games also deals with the government; in this story it is a tyrannical power of the capitol that is reigning over the entirety of Panem. This is similar to the way many people view America today. In both of these stories the...

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