Francesca Lia Block's Wolf Essay

1741 words - 7 pages

The involvement of social issues in young adult literature is no red flag to modern day society. New Realism, which first occurred around the 1960’s-1970, lead to the evolution of the appropriateness of social issues in the young adult literature genre. (Robinson) In Francesca Lia Block's Wolf, the author addresses the taboos of sexual violence and abuse in the home, and pairs this with the idea of female self-empowerment, and the age appropriateness of young adult literature for young adults.
In Francesca Lia Block's Wolf, the young, nameless protagonists, and heroine, runs away to her Grandmothers’ house after being repeatedly sexually assaulted by her Mothers’ boyfriend. "They don't believe me. They think I'm crazy. But let me tell you something it be a wicked wicked world out there if you didn't already know." (Block 40-45) From the first sentence and thereafter, the reader can infer through the thoughts, actions, and motivations of the protagonists, that something is not right. She does not come from a nuclear family, nor is she the 'Little Red' that we have come to expect. Her abuses, are no longer held under the daintily cloaked impressions of a lost little girl in a red cloak, they are explicitly stated. "I started screaming how he raped me for years..." (Block 40-45) The protagonists sees running away as her only solace, and even that is not guaranteed; as her abuse has happened for so long, she fears that it will forever haunt her as a "...red flag." (Block 40-45) An example of this is found with the boy she encounters on the bus, while running towards her Grandmother’ house; "I am freaked that if I get close to a boy he will somehow find out what happened to me-like it's a scar he'll see or smell or something." (Block 40-45) The Wolf, who has abused her for so long, has branded not only physical abuse upon her, but mental and emotional abuse as well. She is emotionally crippled from the abuses her mother faces, and not only from her own misfortunes. In telling the reader that her mother once said "baby, I'll always be with you. No matter what happens to me I'm still here," (Block 40-45) the protagonists is giving insight to why she stayed in the detrimental environment of her house for so long - she loved her mother. Her relationship with her mother, was tied to the perception of her innocence. In saying “maybe she was still with me but I couldn’t be with her those times” (Block 40-45) the author is giving us a look at how much the protagonists loved her mother, and how much she forced herself to put up with, before she broke. With the line “it was like if I did then she’d hurt so bad I’d lose her forever,” (Block 40-45) her journey is consequently set in motion leading to the endgame of the novel. The reader can see that this protagonists has been worn down, and that she can no longer deal with the transgressions she had tried so hard to hide- from her mother especially.
The author does give the protagonists a...

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