Since Robert Cormier’s unconventional approach to narrative closure has perhaps attracted more negative criticism than any other aspect of his work, this essay will begin in a somewhat unorthodox fashion with reference to the endings of his three best known young adult novels: The Chocolate War (1974), I Am the Cheese (1977) and After the First Death (1979). The endings of these novels are not just bleak, but respectively involve their young protagonists in utter abjection and self-betrayal (Jerry Renault); either regression to childhood dependency or authorised State termination (Adam Farmer/Paul Delmonte); suicide (Ben Marchand), a violent death at the hands of a terrorist (Kate Forrester), and emotional death (Miro Shantas). All three novels are, in their different ways, anti-Bildungsromans, thwarting their young protagonists’ transition to adulthood. The key questions this essay will investigate are what subject positions these novels offer young adult readers, and how they contain the potential to make them compliant or interrogative readers.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Inducing Despair?: A Study of Robert Cormier’s Young Adult Fiction
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number