This comparative inquiry into young adult fiction invites you to explore the topic of the spiritual journey both academically and personally. Different disciplinary perspectives such as religious studies, gender studies, history, psychology, and literary studies, will help us shed light on our private reading experiences and deepen our exploration of such themes as: religiosity vs. spirituality, experiencing divine presence and absence, becoming a hero, confronting evil, being different, achieving autonomy, faith and doubt, and the magical and the miraculous. Our hope is that, over the course of the semester, you will develop a personal vocabulary in which you can express your thoughts on spiritual journeys in young adult fiction as well as articulate the relationships between your own quest and your academic pursuits.
Readings may include works such as: Grimm's Fairy Tales; Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time; Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves; Virginia Hamilton, The People Could Fly; Chaim Potok, The Chosen; and Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials. Films may include works such as: Pan’s Labyrinth; Paper Clips; and Bridge to Terabithia.