Open Access Graduate Research Paper
The purpose of this study was to examine and evaluate the portrayal of death in selected fiction books for adolescents. The sample for the study consisted of eleven books selected by a committee of professionals in the field of adolescent literature. These are books that tend to be available to adolescents in libraries. A method of content analysis was applied'as the research design in which each book was analyzed on a basis of seven categories.
It was found that most of the books do handle the death theme realistically. In death vocabulary the most frequently used words were "die", "dead", and "death". More than half of the books in the study had euphemisms used in the portrayal of death. The most frequently used euphemisms was "gone". Friends and family members of the main character tended to be the types of characters who died. The death was most often caused by external elements. Main characters tended to learn of the deaths by being told. Funeral rites or religious beliefs were stated in over half of the books. The portrayal of the grief response as identified by Bowlby was found in each of the books. The criteria, that at least one stage from the grief response be present, was met.
The following conclusions about the death portrayal were drawn: death is portrayed realistically in literature for adolescents; the grief response of the main character was handled realistically; and general thoughts on death tended to be positive and led toward the main character's acceptance of death as part of life.
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Library Science
1 PDF file (iii, 84 pages)
©1981 Nancy Helmers
Helmers, Nancy, "The Portrayal of Death in Selected Fiction Books for Adolescents" (1981). Graduate Research Papers. 3044.