n Mousaion - 'Death's other kingdoms' : death and the afterlife in some recent fantasies for young adults

Volume 32, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Trites (2000:117) argues that death is a biological imperative that possibly operates even more powerfully on the human mind than sexuality. In this article it will be suggested that coming to terms with the inevitability of mortality is a key maturational task, but that popular young adult fantasies dealing with immortal vampires or decaying zombies usually offer little or no support to adolescents struggling to deal with this issue. By contrast, it will be suggested that novels such as those in Terry Pratchett's series, JK Rowling's series, Ursula Le Guin's series and Philip Pullman's trilogy provide adolescent readers with safe spaces in which to explore not only the threat of death, but a range of social and religious approaches to the problem. In this way, young readers may be encouraged to accept themselves, in Heidegger's (1962 [1927]:304-307) terms, as 'Being-towards-death' and eventually even be empowered by such an acknowledgement.

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