This creative works thesis comprises an exegesis and a novel. Both explore the ways that a postnatural perspective can shape the reading and writing of young adult dystopian fiction. Approaching literature from a postnatural perspective can highlight a connection between shifts in a novel's key terms and the development of the protagonist towards understanding their world as an interconnected ecosystem. Through its grounding in ecocriticism and children's literature criticism, this research investigates the contributions a postnatural perspective offers young adult dystopian fiction generally, and specifically, in the development of the novel When the Cloud Hit the Kellys.
This thesis investigates, from an ecocritical-postnatural perspective, how Australian young adult dystopian fiction interacts with the idea of co-existence and interconnectedness, as well as the narrative potential that this offers. In realising this aim, the thesis engages critically with fourthwave ecocriticism through its focus on postnaturalism. It argues that a postnatural perspective offers readers and writers ways of thinking about how all parts of an ecosystem are interconnected, with no element solely responsible for ecological crises. The thesis comprises a novel entitled When the Cloud Hit the Kellys and an exegesis that provides the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of both components. A critical analysis of three exemplar focus texts – The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (2012) by Ambelin Kwaymullina, Days Like This (2011) by Alison Stewart, and The Big Dry (2013) by Tony Davis – supported the development of the creative work in conjunction with the theoretical framework.
The thesis considers the value of a counternarrative to map periods of resistance where a protagonist uses the language of the dystopian society to challenge dominant ideologies. It also examines and utilises living discourse (Bakhtin, 1989) to demonstrate how shifts in the use of specific terms can create an opportunity for revised and flexible meanings. (Author's blurb)