S. E. Hinton American Literature Analysis
In April of 1967, Viking Press published Hinton’s The Outsiders, and its appearance marked the start of what has since become known as young adult, or YA, literature. Prior to that date, literature for adolescents comprised leftover children’s literature (such as Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, 1903) or adult novels that had been adopted by younger readers (such as Harper Lee’s 1960 To Kill a Mockingbird). The few works that were aimed specifically at the youth market (the novels of John Tunis or Maureen Daly) were simplistic and moralistic, even to adolescent readers.
In 1967 all that changed, and a new genre was born, thanks in large part to Hinton. Since that date, the genre of young adult fiction has developed into a major cultural force, and publishers regularly deploy editors and even whole divisions to work in the teenage market. What marks this genre, and what distinguishes it from the “juvenile” literary forms that existed prior to 1967, is that young adult literature talks to adolescents realistically about matters that concern them, in language that is their own.
The novels of Robert Cormier, M. E. Kerr, Paul Zindel, Richard Peck, and dozens of other young adult writers cover experiences that were absent from adolescent literature before the 1960’s but that are on the minds of teenagers nevertheless—including sex, death, and divorce. At times, young adult novels can be...
(The entire section is 4113 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of S. E. Hinton Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!