'Images of alienation in young adult fictions are common, arguably because they mirror the cultural discourses around adolescence as displaced between two (constructed) 'knowable' states: childhood and adulthood. The connection between displacement and melancholy in texts for young adults provides a vast array of narrative symbolism that often blurs reality and fantasy as knowable versus unknowable states respectively. Sonya Hartnett's approach to adolescent introspection and states of melancholy-depression is often confrontational and her (critically acclaimed) young adult fiction interleaves often destructive narratives of incest, familial violence, murder and suicide with contemporary and historical landscapes.
The Ghost's Child (2007), is a fictionalized and historicized account of individual alienation and sadness whereby, melancholy and depression serve as powerful forces (of lossdesire) able to induce spectral presences in the life of the protagonist in ways that allow fantasy to become a means to negotiate loss and combat alienation. The overt psychological dimensions of the narrative are obviated through images of melancholy, madness, abjection and death.
This paper initiates a discussion of the text's psychoanalytic connotations through the ideas of both Freud and Kristeva. However, in order to question if/how the narrative moves beyond the traditional parameters that construct melancholy as either a clinical pathology or a useful literary/aesthetic device, melancholy is also discussed through the ideas of Gilles Deleuze. The incorporation of Deleuze's work enables a way to re-think conventional representations of the melancholic as an essentially abject and marginalised subject position' (Author's abstract).