Literature for self-discovery. Looking into adolescence through graphic novels


Graphic novels are one of the most appreciated and popular genres of contemporary children and young adults’ literature. This art form attracts young readers not only because of an attentive juxtaposition of words and images, but also because of the complex topics it addresses. Teenagers and young adults see themselves portrayed in the pages of their favourite graphic works as they depict real, personal experiences linked to their coming of age. Graphic novels offer depictions of young boys and girls who struggle to find their own, personal path, to understand their feeling, to build their identity beyond stereotypes. This literature is particularly complex and captivating in relation to subjects such as gender, sexuality, friendship, family bonds, social relationships, and various contemporary cultural issues. The present paper aims to offer an overview of some of the most compelling and appreciated graphic novels for young adult readers and to explore how they deal with subjects related to identity, self-discovery, equality. Through a brief analysis of some selected works, the study wants to compare and investigate these books in order to understand the literary strategies selected by authors to portray young adults’ lives and struggles. The graphic novel stands as a medium that encourages reflection, self-discovery, awareness and empowerment in a liminal and complex phase of life as adolescence and early adulthood.

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