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ERIC Number: EJ1141502
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1559-9035
Representations of Adoption in Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults
Parsons, Sue Christian; Fuxa, Robin; Kander, Faryl; Hardy, Dana
Journal of Language and Literacy Education, v13 n1 p70-92 Spr 2017
In this critical content analysis of thirty-seven contemporary realistic fiction books about adoption, the authors examine how adoption and adoptive families are depicted in young adult (YA) literature. The critical literacy theoretical frame brings into focus significant social implications of these depictions as the researchers illuminate and resist stereotypes in an effort to advocate for inclusiveness and respect. Analysis reveals a strong presence of literary archetypes such as Orphan and Seeker, age-old patterns of narration that resound with readers at deep but not necessarily conscious levels and thus may lend a sense of credibility and familiarity to even problematic portrayals. These stories provide a content for exploring cultural and social identities but are also rife with negative stereotypes, including adoption as a shameful secret, a problem to be solved, or a legally suspect event. Negative portrayals of birth parents and imbalanced gender perspectives suggest that adoption is a feminine story and marginalizes fathers. Overall, adoption literature raises significant questions about what family structures and contexts are valued, who has power and choice in relationships, and how adolescents are positioned and viewed, but the complex picture of what adoption looks like and means for those involved needs to be more carefully considered.
Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. 315 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-7866; Fax: 706-542-3817; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A