The Youth Lens: Analyzing Adolescence/ts in Literary Texts

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship that re-conceptualizes adolescence as a cultural construct, this article introduces a Youth Lens. A Youth Lens comprises an approach to textual analysis that examines how ideas about adolescence and youth get formed, circulated, critiqued, and revised. Focused specifically on its application to young adult literature, a genre of writing that explicitly names it audience, this article explores how a Youth Lens provides a much needed critical approach to interpreting and teaching young adult literature within literacy education, especially given the problematic representations of youth in many of these literary texts. Specifically, this article a) discusses the central assumptions that govern a Youth Lens; b) provides an explanation of the lens, including published and new examples and guiding questions; c) presents an in-depth case of how a Youth Lens illuminates new possibilities for understanding The Hunger Games; and, d) offers specific implications a Youth Lens has for the analysis of young adult and other literary texts,approaches to teaching young adult literature courses for pre-service literacy teachers, and secondary literacy pedagogy involving young adult literature and media texts.




Petrone, Robert, Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides, and Mark A. Lewis. "The Youth Lens: Analyzing Adolescence/ts in Literary Texts." Journal of Literacy Research (February 2015): 1-28. DOI:
Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.