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Young Adult fiction too dark?


"Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity."

Contemporary? Oh? In the 4th of Baum's Oz books, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, the Wizard slices a man in half with a sword, forces others to step into rings of fire that badly burns them (never mind that they're vegetable people -- still people), fires a gun into attackers and hits one in the eye, and possibly burns down an entire civilization.

That was written over a century ago. Just sayin'.  Today's stories are often more about real life -- which isn't a bad thing -- but there's been plenty of darkness in youth literature since the days of Brothers Grimm.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Not at all! And in the MGM movie of the Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man doesn't mention that he became tin after an enchanted ax started hacking his body parts off, one by one.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 6th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
I remember in a later book when the Tin Man and the Tim Soldier discovered their parts had been combined to form a new human who'd married the Tim Man's former girlfriend. Talk about a horror movie scenario! It was pointed out to me once that most of the men in the Oz books were not "whole", in one way or another.
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)

Any of the Grimm fairy tales are pretty horrific too!!!

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
They sure are!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Maybe that's even where the term grim came from!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 9th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Yes, just a couple of nights ago -- I totally called it on who River actually was! Of course, it was one of about four wild theories I threw out there ... Much as I hate cliffhangers, this season's been awesome.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 10th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
I sure did hear -- it'll be great to have him back for another year!
Jun. 5th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Even more recently - Go Ask Alice, anyone? I read that book when I was around 11; it was certainly marketed to the YA audience. (As for Grimm - I distinctly remember reading their version of Snow White when I was still in single digits. You know, the one where the evil Queen is forced to dance at Snow White's wedding in red hot iron slippers until she fell down dead.)
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
All true; that kind of stuff has been around for a long, long time, and I don't see much chance that it's going away. Although I prefer escapism, myself, kids are drawn to stories about people who are going through the problems of real life.
Jun. 5th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
I remember back when I was in Jr. High, I got a SF book out of the school library. There was infant cannibalism in the book. That's remained with me for 45 years. Dark themes in books for young adults are most definitely not new in modern literature.
Jun. 5th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean -- I was only about 12 when I got Lord of the Flies from the local library ...
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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