Growing Up in a Fantasy World

Nolan, Kathleen
In most Young Adult books, the driving idea is growth from childhood to adulthood. Authors like Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, and J.K. Rowling all explore that theme in unique ways through the fantasy genre. Their main characters are also all girls, at least in the books chosen for this paper. They are all obviously special and go through many trials as they grow up and learn where they fit in their worlds. While these trials are fantastical, real young girls are able to relate to and understand them better in that fictive context. The characters show that life is never easy and is full of difficult choices. Young girls are also able to see characters their age making those choices and accepting responsibility for them. This presentation summarizes Pierce's The Immortals series, Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, and Rowling's Harry Potter series. It explores how these authors show their characters growing up and becoming adults. These novels give young girls something that is difficult to find in the real world – strong role models their age becoming independent young women who don't necessarily conform to everything everyone else expects of them.
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