Writing Disability in Australia
|Type of disability||Intellectual disabilities.|
|Type of character||Tertiary.|
|Point of view||First person.|
'This paper explores the subversion of the bildungsroman in the young adult novel, Surrender (Penguin, Camberwell, 2005), by the Australian author, Sonya Hartnett. It is suggested that, in reinscribing the traditional bildungsroman within a Gothic discourse, this novel reveals the effect on subjectivity that the horrors of postmodernity pose for the contemporary adolescent. The employment of Gothic tropes to depict the journey of the narrator, Anwell, highlights the trauma of locating an agentic subject position in a context where authoritative social institutions have been revealed as corrupt. In such a world, typical pathways to agency are problematised. Traditional bildungsroman novels suggest agency is attained by finding one’s place in the world, most often in accordance with socially prescribed schemata, although some contemporary examples confer agency through rebellion or resistance instead. Surrender posits a controversial alternative, suggesting that embracing abjection and, ultimately, death, may be considered a legitimate—if transgressive—form of agency for the othered adolescent. Rather than finding a place in the world that Anwell sees as having failed him, he demonstrates a subversive form of agency in choosing to escape from this world entirely.'
'The inevitable and universal nature of death has made it a popular topic of children’s literature. While death has appeared in these stories for centuries, death in young adult novels has become much darker and more complex.' (Introduction)