Robert Cormier made his name as a groundbreaking writer of young adult fiction, particularly in view of his realistic, hardnosed, and unedulcorated portrayal of American society, where gratuitous violence lurks around corners, and evil is found in the most unsuspected of places. Given his thematic concerns with violence and evil, Cormier’s writing frequently focuses on the investigation of delinquent behaviour, and therefore often revisits the conventions of crime fiction. In contemporary literature, one need not look at genre writing for candid portrayals of young people involved in brutal and unlawful activities. In fact, in recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in memorable, mainstream fictional representations of children, both as victims and as perpetrators of violent crimes, possibly inspired by the number of real incidents that have received media visibility. Prizewinning, bestselling novels such as Jonathan Trigell’s Boy A (2004)1 and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005)2 — loosely inspired, respectively, by the 1993 murder of two-year-old Jamie Bulger by two ten-year-olds in Britain and by the phenomenon of high-school shootings in the United States — are clearly part of an ongoing, revisionist debate about the myth of childhood innocence.
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- ‘Nobody out of context’: Representations of Child Corruption in Robert Cormier’s Crime Novels
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