Rebels with a Cause: How the Female Teen Protagonist is Challenging the Traditional Male Coming of Age Story in Fiction Used in the Classroom

By Kenneth DiMaggio.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Traditionally, the teen male rebel without a cause has often been the character dominating the text studied in a high school or even college humanities classroom. The novel that comes to mind is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. But in two recent novels, Push by Sapphire, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, the female teen rebels challenge the traditional notion of youth in rebellion. In Push, the main character Precious Jones must educate herself and care for her baby the same time she deals with issues of racism and sexual abuse. In Persepolis, the author Marjane Satrapi portrays herself as a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran, where she learns that one cannot rebel in isolation. Both novels offer a new perspective on how rebellion is not always an isolated, self-centered activity as it is often portrayed in traditional male protagonists.

Keywords: Rebellion, Racism, Revolution, Fiction

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.499-508. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 618.157KB).

Kenneth DiMaggio

Associate Professor of Humanities, Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

I am an Associate Professor of Humanities at Capital Community College in Hartford Connecticut. CCC is an urban community college where students are often reading at a level that is below traditional college course work, thus making literacy a prime issue that constantly needs to be addressed. As a teacher of Literature and Writing, I am constantly looking for texts to help address the above issue, and the novels Push and Persepolis have been some of my most successful texts.


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