Open Access Graduate Research Paper
Women in literature; Young adult fiction; Children's stories; Historical fiction;
The purpose of this textual analysis of the role of women in historical fiction written for young people was to identify whether the portrayal of women in contemporary historical fiction varies from pre-Feminist era historical fiction. This researcher’s goal was to seek examples and compare the portrayal of women in novels written before and after 1970. Twenty-four novels were selected from historical novel bibliographies. Twelve novels written before 1970 and twelve written after 1970 were read and any identified patterns were included in the sorting process. Research questions seeking resolution were: how were women portrayed in historical fiction written for young people before and after 1970 and can changing patterns in the portrayal of the role of women in historical fiction be identified? Emerging themes in the portrayal of women in historical fiction written for young people identified in novels from both time periods by this researcher’s textual analysis include: that there are few examples of females taking masculine roles, female characters who endure the absence of a male character resulted in two patterns; independence or displaced dependence, few female characters were portrayed as having a formal education or as a problem solver, most female characters were portrayed as a wife or mother, and undiagnosed mental health issues seemed to be ascribed to female characters. The research question can changing patterns in the portrayal of the role of women in historical fiction be identified could not be confirmed or rejected as examples of emerging themes in the portrayal of women in historical fiction were found in novels from both time periods.
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Division of School Library Studies
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
70 p. ; 28 cm.
© 2006 Jennifer Youngblut Gassman
Gassman, Jennifer Youngblut, "A textual analysis of the role of women in historical fiction for young people" (2006). Graduate Research Papers. 3.