The Portrayal of Non-Violence in Children’s and Young Adult Fiction

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Despite the fact that American society places a tremendous emphasis on television and other forms of visual media, literature still remains a ubiquitous inspiration in the minds of adolescent children. These works of fiction, like the rest of America’s violence-oriented culture, largely contain material based on aggression and warfare. However, not all young adult novels are about overtly violent behavior; some examples of nonviolent children’s and young adult literature are The Shadow Children Series by Margret Peterson Hadix, the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver, and Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale. Each of these books contains situations in which large-scale acts of violence would typically be used as conflict resolution strategy. Nonviolence remains prevalent and influential in children’s and young adult literature, though its methods may encourage ideas that are against the basic idea of Satyagraha. To understand the methods used in each book, they must first be put into context. In Meg Cabot’s series, The Shadow Children, the situation is this: Luke lives with his parents and older brothers in a society where each family is only permitted two children each, making him a fugitive from the law. The Population Police, the authority of a tyrannical government, could put him to death for simply existing, so Luke is content to spend the rest of his life in hiding. However, one day he meets another third child, like himself, and joins the covert movement to liberate the unwanted children through mainly nonviolent means (Haddix 1). The Delirium Trilogy focuses more on social reform than political, when the main character, Lena, rebels against her society’s custom to surgically alter the brain so it can no lo... ... middle of paper ... ... 1998. Print. Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Enemy. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2005. Print. Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Free. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2006. Print. Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. Print. Hale, Shannon. "Palace of Stone." The Official Site of Shannon Hale. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. . Oliver, Lauren. Delirium. New York: Harper, 2011. Print. Oliver, Lauren. Pandemonium. New York: Harper, 2012. Print Oliver, Lauren. "Delirium." Lauren Oliver Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. . Wheadon, Carrie R. "Delirium." Book Review. Common Sense Media, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. .
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