Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


First Advisor

Julia Frengs

Date of this Version

Summer 7-28-2022


Waller, Kaitlyn. The Intersections of Migration and Identity in Young Adult Literature of the French-Speaking World. 2022. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. MA thesis, DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Modern Languages & Literatures, Under the Supervision of Professor Julia Frengs. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Kaitlyn Waller


Both young adult literature and novels of migration frequently deal with the construction of identity, from coming-of-age stories to narratives of intercultural exploration and hybridization. Young adult narratives of migration, then, represent a fascinating intersection of two literary traditions for the exploration of questions of identity. However, young adult literature and its varied subgenres are often overlooked among the broader critical scholarship of migration narratives. Indeed, the genre is often critiqued as too simplistic or pedagogical to truly merit consideration among adult readers and academics. Through an in-depth analysis of nine novels, however, I explore questions of identity development in post-colonial former and current French territories, through narratives of refugee journeys, and within the intangible worlds created in fantasy novels. In each case, the young adult novels reach a level of depth and nuance not often associated with the genre. Ultimately, I argue that young adult literature has the capacity to explore the nuanced complexities of identity construction in a modern, postcolonial world.

Advisor: Julia Frengs