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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.65, No.2, 365 ~ 390, 2019
Robert Cormier’s ‘Identity Politics’: The Fictional Identity of Adam Presented in I am the Cheese
류연지 Yeonji Ryu
Early novels about adolescence featured adolescent characters who were trying to adapt themselves to adults’ expectations or social norms. Their storylines assumed an educative role by instilling an ideal model of adolescents into teenagers. However, as Robert Cormier published adolescent novels in the 1970s, the stream of adolescent literature was converted. Since the emergence of novels by Cormier, adolescent characters facing social issues and struggling against critical situations rather than adapting themselves to social norms began appearing. Cormier’s novels employ new adolescent characters that are a departure from “adolescent images” represented by preexisting adolescent literature, playing the role of reconstructing or deconstructing socially constructed adolescent features. His novel, I am the Cheese include minute descriptions of adolescent characters who strive to escape from their critical situations by themselves but fail in the end. Cormier enables readers to realize the social problem of imposing a “collective identity” on teenagers through adolescent characters in his novels. He discloses that any “adolescence” allowed and accepted in society is not the underlying nature of teenagers but something fictional shaped by social norms. This study is a review of Cormier’s view of adolescents and interprets “adolescence” from a critical point of view through analyses of his primary novel, I am the Cheese, and discusses his novels’ influence on adolescent literature and its meaning.
Key Words
로버트 코미어, 청소년소설, 정체성 정치학, 청소년성, 『나는 치즈다』, Robert Cormier, adolescent novel, Identity Politics, adolescent features, I am the Cheese
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