The Implications of Close Female Friendships in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (Catherine Z. and Zoe H.)

        Close female friendships play interesting roles in young adult (YA) dystopian fiction, often serving as literary tools for the development of the protagonist and the progression of the plot. Within the genre, the close female friend typically follows the same trajectory, ultimately helping the protagonist grow into a stronger, more rebellious leader within her dystopian world. In Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, Lena and her best friend Hana’s relationship is no exception. Hana’s role serves two important functions within this novel: Hana is integral to Lena’s initiation into rebellion, and she absorbs the consequences of rebellion allowing Lena to succeed and become the symbol of hope. Furthermore, maintaining the modality of the YA dystopian genre, their relationship also works to reinforce societal expectations of girlhood.

         Firstly, Hana plays a pivotal role in Lena’s initiation into the world of rebellion, and thus their relationship is an imperative mechanism for plot development. As Hana and Lena approach their ‘cure’ procedures, Hana becomes apprehensive. In a heavy moment of confrontation, Hana shares her distrust of the oppressive society with Lena, and introduces her to the underground world of rebellion she has discovered. She challenges Lena’s beliefs by taunting her, saying: “you don’t have it in you” (111), trying to convince her that the cure is not the answer. In pushing Lena to start thinking about other alternatives to life, she ultimately drives Lena into rebellion.  

        This night, when Lena witnesses a community that does not submissively adhere to societal expectations, is undisputedly her initiation into rebellion. She sneaks out past curfew, has a chance encounter with her soon-to-be love interest Alex, and begins to feel emotions that are foreign to her. Though Alex plays a large role in pushing Lena into rebellion as the novel progresses, it is Hana’s introduction that establishes the foundation for all future rebellion. Hana is thus central to the development of Lena’s character, and to the progression of the novel. Without her influence, Lena would simply have continued to await the cure, the story ending once it finally took hold. Hana can thus be understood as Lena’s leading edge, she clears the path so that Lena can experience life and begin to rebel.

         Secondly, Hana serves the role of the hopeless rebel, challenging the government and accepting the consequences. She has no hope for the future, and believes there is happiness in being free of constricting rules and regulations. However for Lena, although her mother’s experience with the procedure frightens her, her desire to be normal overpowers that fear. “Often such conformist societies embrace their uniformity out of a fear that diversity breeds conflict,” (Basu, Broad, Hintz 3) thus Lena reflects this mode of YA dystopias, eagerly awaiting her conforming procedure, the ‘cure.’ Hana, however, has no hope in a future as a cured, as she says to Lena “you know you can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes, right?” (Oliver 23).  In this single phrase Hana loses her calm composure and shows Lena how scared she is for the future. Hana believes going through with the procedure will ultimately take away who she is, making her emotionless and robotic. However, Lena disagrees with Hana, continuing to see the cure as a way to escape judgment for her mother’s past.

         The difference between Hana and Lena’s attitudes regarding the cure and their  perceptions of hope directly reflect the consequences they each face as they rebel against the government.  Hana, dreading her emotionless future as a cured, starts listening to unapproved music, and attending unsanctioned parties. With dystopian novels specifically, there are often consequences for rebelling, therefore “the female friends’ suffering makes the threat that the protagonists face real, creating narrative tension” (Childs 197). Oliver follows this formula in Delirium as, although Lena also begins to rebel as the novel progresses, it is Hana who absorbs the negative consequences of their rebellion. This allows the negative aspects of rebellion to be present while still allowing Lena to succeed. Furthermore, throughout the novel, Hana remains the epitome of hopelessness; in the end she is powerless to the governmental forces.  Lena, on the other hand, becomes the symbol of hope, as she searches to find a way to keep her emotional memories alive and overcome the oppressive government.

         Lastly, although Hana’s role mainly has positive outcomes for Lena and the novel, their friendship also has negative consequences. As Ann Child’s discusses, close female friendships in YA dystopias often suffer a falling out in order for a romantic relationship to grow, thus reinforcing negative stereotypes about girls. This occurs as Hana starts to engage in illegal behaviour that Lena feels uncomfortable participating in. Simultaneously as their relationship deteriorates, Lena and Alex’s romantic relationship begins to flourish. This new romantic relationship also takes over as the primary reason for Lena’s rebellion, which further devalues her once powerful relationship with Hana. Although the love story is captivating for young readers, “the romance in the novel does not exist in a vacuum, but rather as a zero-sum game where female friendship is devalued in favour of love, and heterosexual love is the only worthy end-game” (Childs 195). In the world of YA dystopian literature, it appears that only one strong relationship can exist for the protagonist, and it is the heterosexual, romantic relationship that always seems to prevail. In devaluing platonic friendships to favour romantic love, the novel works to reinforce negative stereotypes about girls, as Lena nonchalantly throws away a long-standing friendship in exchange for a boy’s attention. Lena thus becomes the token stereotypical girl, conforming to societal expectations as her ‘shallow’ desires push her to prioritize her romantic relationship over her friendship with Hana.   

          Throughout this piece we have worked to highlight the pivotal role that Hana plays in the plot and in the development of Lena’s character. Ultimately, this female friendship is imperative to the progression of the story, as she allows Lena to accept herself and find hope in an uncertain future. However, in using Hana solely for character development, Oliver negates the opportunity for a subversive YA dystopian story where a female friendship is valued over romance. Rather than allowing a platonic friendship to be the primary focus, in placing Hana as the secondary character who accepts the consequences for Lena’s rebellion, Oliver allows their relationship to deteriorate and stereotypes of girls remain unchallenged.

 

Discussion Questions:

In what ways would a YA dystopian novel featuring a strong female friendship, without the presence of a heterosexual romantic relationship, disrupt and subvert gendered stereotypes about girls and girlhood? Would such a novel succeed in the publishing world? Explain.

 

Looking at Rue’s role in Katniss’s rebellion, Zahra’s role in Lauren’s rebellion, and Hana’s role in Lena’s rebellion, it appears as though the YA dystopian female protagonist requires a secondary character to aid in her progression through rebellion. Could it be possible for these protagonists to initiate rebellion without the help of a female friend and/or secondary character? Why or why not?

 
Works Cited:

Basu, Balaka, and Carrie Hintz. “Introduction.” Contemporary Dystopian Fiction for Young Adults: Brave New Teenagers. By Katherine R. Broad. New York: Routledge, 2013. 1-15. Print.

Childs, Ann M. “The Incompatibility of Female Friendships and Rebellion.” Female    Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction.  Farnham, Surrey: Ash Gate Limited, 2014. 187-   201. Print.

Oliver, Lauren. Delirium. New York: Harper, 2011. Print.

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15 thoughts on “The Implications of Close Female Friendships in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (Catherine Z. and Zoe H.)

  1. In your argument you state that female friendship is common in YA dystopian novels to drive the plot. I would have to argue that the type of female friendship seen in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium is not at all something that is common of traditional dystopian novels. Although you will find other female characters such as Madge in The Hunger Games, or Johanna in The Parable of the Sower, these characters are not all together that important and in fact the friendships in those books don’t seem to be strong friendships. Lena’s closest confident in the book is Hana, even as she develops a relationship with Alex, Hana is the character that she confides in. This friendship goes beyond a form of plot development as we learn so much about Hana and her own thoughts and dreams outside of what Lena thinks. In this way I disagree with your point that Hana is merely a source of character development to Lena as she has her own personality and plot.
    To answer your question, I think it would be possible to have a dystopian novel about female friendship. I think that it is a strong and integral relationship that helps to drive the female protagonist in any dystopian novel and that the traditional romantic relationship could be swapped out for that of a friendship if it is a strong friendship like that of Lena and Hana. I don’t think this relationship would subvert ideas about girls and girlhood because it would adhere to the constructions of female friendship. I think that it would only be seen as unusual if the friendship was chosen over a relationship, that it would subvert heterosexual or traditionally romantic norms. Although in the past a novel like this would not be able to make it in the publishing world I think that this is a contemporary issue with a demand. In this way a great dystopian novel about female friendship could succeed.
    Your examples of aided rebellion in other novels are not the same as the situation faced by Hana and Lena. In The Hunger Games Katniss teamed up with Rue because of a motherly instinct and I don’t think that the relationship that they had was ever friendship. Furthermore it was Katniss that encouraged Rue to take the offensive and blow up the supplies of the other tributes. As for Zahra and Lauren their difference in age makes it difficult to see their relationship as a friendship. I also don’t see Zahra encouraging Lauren’s rebellion as much as aiding her in the goals she already had. In this novel Hana is encouraging the rebellion, and Lena is able to take things one-step further. I think that secondary characters help in rebellion because they help to make the rebellion more meaningful. A person fighting only for him or herself is not as inspiring or interesting as a person fighting for the greater good. I think relationships with secondary characters help us to understand and appreciate the work that the main character is completing.

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      1. Catherine and Zoe (and Professor GB),

        I enjoyed reading your post and its focus on female friendships within ‘Delirium’, in regards to your first question I do think that it is more than possible for a novel featuring a plot driven by female friendship rather than heteronormative tropes would do well in the published world. Compulsory heterosexuality has policed Western society to the point where the majority of mainstream YA literature (whether dystopian, female protagonist, etc.) is expected to have heterosexual relationships and characters and utilize this as a plot point. However, by introducing a novel outside of the norm readers young and old who have tired of the same storylines and characters can experience something new.
        Constant consumption of the same plot greatly impacts the way in which YA construct their identities, as well as how they perceive their peers, parents, neighbours, etc… By creating storylines that follow one specific narrative content can be monitored and manipulated to the masses to send messages. In this case, the message is compulsory heterosexuality as well as the many tropes that follow YA dystopian novels. If a novel void of heterosexual relationships, with a strict focus on female friendships was published people would most definitely pick it up due to its departure from the norm. We cannot be the only one’s who read these novels and roll our eyes when they follow the exact same tropes and story that we saw in the last 10 books we read; it gets tiring to always watch friends fall so that the girl can fall in love with her man…
        Further, I want to take your question a bit farther and ask why can we not publish novels that have not only female friendships but queer relationships, where instead of a male love interest Katniss falls for a woman, or why can’t we simply turn Alex’s character into a woman and discuss queerness and love. There are so many possibilities and storylines that can be created by disregarding compulsory heterosexuality and its ideals and subverting the storyline by erasing romance altogether or queering it. This alone would disrupt and subvert gender stereotypes about girls and girlhood; society is not talking about these forms of girlhood. By simply disrupting romantic tropes within YA novels authors can create even bigger social commentaries outside of patriarchal thinking.
        The only problem stopping this is the fact that we live in a society that ‘prefers’ heterosexuality and is disproportionately male-oriented/dominated, these novels would only succeed in creating a society that is self-aware and more willing to rebel.

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    1. Hi Angie,

      I want to respond to your comment because I agree with your point about how unique the relationship between Hana and Lena is in the context of YA Dystopia. I feel like generally, many female protagonists in YA Dystopia are portrayed as a “Lone Wolves” who do not fit in with other girls their age (ie. Katniss in Hunger Games, Tris in Divergent, Lauren in Parable of the Sower, etc.) and only form bonds with other girls out of necessity or social expectations. It is rare to see a fully fleshed-out friendship between the “enlightened” or “special” female protagonist, and someone who is viewed as less capable (for example, like you mentioned, Madge in the Hunger Games). Often, this is because these characters must close themselves off emotionally in order to prioritize their safety and security.

      I think that although Catherine and Zoe are correct in saying that Hana acts as Lena’s “leading edge”, I do not believe Hana is only used as a mechanism for plot development. Instead, I think that we must look beyond Lena’s prioritization of Alex over Hana as shallow, and “breaking up a friendship”, and try to understand the implications of these relationship dynamics to the young female reader. In my opinion, Hana allows a female reader to have a more critical approach to their friends’ relationships. She is a character other than Lena that a reader can identify with, and allows the reader to view the all-consuming love between Lena and Alex as something other than perfect. When young girls are able to see a solid female support system like Hana behind Lena, it allows them to engage critically with the health and complexities of the romantic relationship in which Lena participates. Altogether, I disagree with Catherine and Zoe’s point that Hana’s relationship is devalued in favour of Alex’s romantic plotline. Hana is constructed in such a way that readers can place a similar value on both Hana and Alex’s emotional support of Lena.

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  2. I really like your argument about Lena and Hana’s friendship, it made me think about their friendship differently in relation to rebellion as I think it’s easy once we continue reading to forget that Hana initially aided Lena’s rebellion. I also really liked the idea of consequences and how Hana is the character who ‘absorbs the consequences’ so that Lena can succeed, I’d never thought about their characters in that way before.

    With regards to the discussion questions, I am not sure whether a book without a romantic storyline would succeed in the market of YA Dystopian fiction. I would like to hope that it would because I don’t believe a romantic storyline is always necessary however the trope of heteronormative relationships is so ingrained in this genre I doubt many authors will stray from it. I make this assumption because authors who are publishing in this genre, and publishers themselves know how to appeal to their target audience and when aiming books specifically at a YA audience a large majority of readers find interest in romance. However, I think that the type of relationships found in YA Dystopia more specifically don’t always adhere to the romance genre, in Delirium despite Lena’s obvious feelings for Alex, she tries to push those feelings away for a long time and the fact that society takes away adult’s ability to love further subverts traditional romantic tropes. In other YA Dystopian fiction, we can see this subversion for example in The Hunger Games, Katniss is very reluctant to become romantically involved with Peeta therefore subverting ideas of girlhood and romance. So despite my skepticism as to whether authors will ever write a YA Dystopian novel without any romance I do think that contemporary authors are successfully challenging ideas of romance and girlhood whilst still involving romance.

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  3. Catherine and Zoe –
    While I agree that Hanna and Lena’s friendship is pivotal within the text, I agree with Angie in saying that Hanna is more than a mere source of plot development. She plays a crucial role in Lena’s awakening, so much as to say that she sparked Lena’s awakening. Hanna challenges her ideals and constructs about their society and forces her to think about alternative lifestyles. This is more than just plot and/or character development.

    To push your argument in another direction, it would have been interesting to consider the class differences between the two girls and the role it plays both in their friendship and individual rebellion, as well. For instance, as a member of the upper-class, Hanna has access to technology that Lena does not. Having the ability to search the internet and experience unauthorized music allows Hanna to explore her rebellious thoughts in a way that Lena cannot. Lena’s only external source of rebellion comes from the people she interacts with – Alex and Hanna. Thus, Hanna is able to understand her own perception of rebellion independently while Lena relies on Hanna (and Alex) to feed her rebellious nature.

    Alternatively, as a member of the lower-middle-class, Lena is used to living under the radar. She is considered at high risk for contracting the deliria and is therefore accustomed to “a feeling of doubleness, of thinking one thing and having to do another” (129). Lena is constantly policing her thoughts, actions and behaviours in order to blend in with the crowd. Hanna, an upperclassman, is not. She is accustomed to standing out in a crowd, whether it be here beauty or her family’s access to rare technologies (like a vehicle). It could be this dichotomy that allows Lena’s rebellion to succeed versus Hanna’s (would Hanna be able to sustain a life in the Wilds when she is so accustomed to her life in upper society?)

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    1. Great comments regarding class. Given Lena’s status within her aunt’s family (her aunt didn’t have to take her in), is Lena’s position more precarious than Hana’s? In other words, is it safer for Hana to rebel than for Lena?

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  4. I agree with your analysis that Hana is the one to thrust Lena into rebellion, and yet their friendship is devalued as the novel progresses in order to favour the budding romance between Alex and Lena. I’m glad that you mentioned the Childs reading, as it analyzed a scene in the novel that puzzled me when I read it: Lena’s first trip to the concert. I didn’t understand why she would not respond to her lifelong best friend calling out for her, but she immediately stopped when Alex appeared. Hana plays a crucial role in the narrative, and yet she must ultimately be cast aside to fulfill heteronormative conventions of the YA dystopian genre.

    To link your argument and the Childs reading to another novel in the course, one interesting aspect of Parable of the Sower is that Lauren and Zahra’s friendship never faces similar devaluation. Granted, this is likely because the book precedes the YA dystopian explosion, but I still find it worthy of acknowledgment. Though Lauren does end up in a heterosexual relationship with Bankole, she still remains close with Zahra, who agrees to stay with her at Acorn. This demonstrates that female companionship can still exist in a dystopian world, and that the introduction of a heterosexual relationship does not have to negate it.

    I’d really, truly like to believe that a YA dystopian novel would succeed with only female friendships featured, but at this point in time, I doubt it. It seems like a heterosexual romantic subplot – especially one that involves a love triangle – is a prerequisite for success in this particular market. Though this may change eventually, I feel as though it’ll be a slow process. Right now, society values male/female relationships over friendships between women (not to mention romantic relationships between them), and trends in literature reflect the attitudes of the society from which they emerge.

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  5. I really liked your argument that in YA novels, the female friend is usually left behind in order to fuel or pursue the main character’s heterosexual romance. This really sheds light on the female relationships we have seen (and probably will continue to see) in the novels for this class. I am thinking about Katniss’s relationship with Rue and perhaps how Rue’s death was a catalyst for Katniss’s romantic relationship with Peeta. I wonder how the novel would have progressed differently if Katniss would have been able to save Rue, and stuck with her until the end, feigning eating the berries with Rue, and saving both of them from the games. The only reason Rue seems to die, is to get Katniss alone so she can pair up with Peeta. This fits the idea that female friendships cannot exist when the protagonist has a romantic relationship with a boy.
    And although I see how your argument works with novels like The Hunger Games, I am unsure it can be applied to Hana and Lena’s relationship. Personally, I do not see Hana being left behind or sacrificed so Lena can be with Alex. In the second half of the novel, Lena makes up with Hana and enjoys her friendship, even through her relationship with Alex. Lena, Hana, and Alex all become friends, and Lena does not seem to push Hana aside in favor of being with Alex more. Lena even wants Hana to accompany her to the Wilds (which I was really hoping Hana would do) and Lena still asserts towards the end of the novel that she loves Hana.
    I am unsure we can make an argument that suggests Hana was cast aside in order for Lena to pursue a heterosexual romance, when in the end, Lena did not even attain Alex—she was forced to escape to the Wilds on her own. However, I do think your argument is incredibly important to critiquing the genre and it will be of use to the class when we read more of the novels on the syllabus.

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  6. To start, I really appreciate that you chose to talk about the significance of female friendship in Delirium as I do think it can be overlooked in terms of the main plot of the novel focusing on heterosexual romance. That being said, I would like to respectfully push back on your argument a little bit and agree with Angie’s point that Hana and Lena’s relationship goes well beyond a simple form of plot development that Oliver threw in. The reason I say this actually goes along with something you also said in your post. You wrote: “Hana is integral to Lena’s initiation into rebellion, and she absorbs the consequences of rebellion allowing Lena to succeed and become the symbol of hope”. In reading this, my initial thought would oppose what you are saying, as I think that because Hana is so integral to Lena’s rebellion, she is in fact much more than plot development. Arguably, as you state in parts of your post, Lena would not be able to be the symbol of hope if it weren’t for Hana. When Alex and Lena first start seeing each other, Hana is constantly the cover for them, and in that, I think she is essentially pushing Lena into her rebellion, which is a really key aspect of the novel. I do see where you would think that this is the only purpose Hana serves, but Hana does have her own identity beyond helping Lena rebel. Hana had her own rebellion going long before Lena knew about it, and also, Hana and Lena’s friendship goes well beyond the specific plot that we are reading about in the novel. I have not read the other books in the series, but I do have hope that Hana comes back strong, as I do think she is so pivotal in her own character, and not just in how she helps Lena rebel.
    To answer your discussion question, I do think that there can be a successful YA dystopian novel that features a strong female friendship, especially in 2016. Times are changing, and I think that teenage girls have become much more open to cultures that go beyond the societal norms that we grew up with. I think that seeing the female protagonist ditch her boyfriend to hang out with her best friend would be seen as refreshing, especially since that is not something that teenagers see everyday (yes, I know I am adhering to the stereotype, but it is just a generalization). I wouldn’t say that a YA dystopian novel without the presence of a heterosexual romance would disrupt and subvert gender norms, but I do think it would come as a shock to some people because we are so used to one specific way. Unfortunately, I do think gender norms will always be there, so it would be difficult to subvert what has been embedded in us from birth. That being said, it would be a really big stepping stone for the teenagers of today to see an emphasis on female friendships, rather than a heterosexual romance, as often times, your best friend will always be there for you when boys walk away.
    All in all, I really enjoyed reading your post, and I felt your use of secondary sources, especially Childs’ were really thought out and well used in getting your point across.

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  7. I have to agree with your depiction of the idea that YA dystopian novels often adhere to negative constructs of girlhood through favouring heterosexual romances at the expense of female friendship. Your analysis of Hana and Lena’s friendship sets up a valid critique of this trope and brings into question the importance of female friendships in the novels we are currently studying.

    As a response to your discussion question, I feel conflicted in my opinion as to whether a YA dystopian novel with a strong female friendship would subvert gender stereotypes and succeed in the publishing world. Firstly, I do believe that there is an unfortunate trend in the literary world where romance, especially in YA novels, is an integral convention that dominates the plot and perpetuates gendered stereotypes through the way is deteriorates female friendship.

    However, I do like to believe that in a modern day context this trend can be overridden as the opinions that society holds are changing, especially in terms of ideas surrounding femininity and girlhood. I would also argue that some authors are attempting to break down this conventional trope already, for example, Katniss originally rejects the idea of romance and in the end utilises an artificial heteronormative relationship as a mere tool for her own survival, ultimately subverting the traditional trope of romance and arguably showing that it isn’t always required in YA novels. Although this example does not explore the idea of a female friendship it is a start in showing attempt to change the stereotypical views upon gendered norms and romance in YA dystopian fiction, which in turn could influence the publication and success of novels that focused on female friendships as oppose to heteronormative relationships.

    Overall, I believe if we were to break the barrier of societal norms surrounding girlhood, YA dystopian novels that focused on strong female friendships would flourish and ultimately change this traditional convention for the better.

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  8. I would agree that Hana, as a secondary character, is used as a tool to drive the plot and Lena’s personal development. As you stated female friendships are often used in YA dystopian literature for these purposes. However, Hana and Lena’s friendship is unusual for the genre in that they have been friends since they were children and their relationship was not the result of unusual circumstances. For example, Katniss and Rue became friends in the arena and were together for a short period of time. Katniss and Rue’s relationship was also built upon a need to survive the games. Lena and Hana’s relationship is unique in that it is not built upon a desire for rebellion and was not brief like other female friendships found in the genre. While Katniss did see aspects of her sister Prim in Rue, their relationship was not the same form of female friendship that Hana and Lena’s was due to the circumstances of their meeting and Rue’s death.

    Another aspect which complicates Hana being used as a tool to drive the plot is that she does not die in the novel. Rue does die in “The Hunger Games” and this is not to say that Hana or any female friend need to die in their respective novels in order to be used as a prop to propel the narrative but Rue’s death sparked the rebellion in “The Hunger Games” novels. Her death was used to propel Katniss’ rebellion as well as the general population’s rebellion against the Capital and the games in the novel. While Hana does introduce Lena to the possibility of rebellion she does not cause Lena to rebel alone. Hana’s actions and motivations are not the same fuel as Rue’s death in igniting a rebellion. Also, saying her character was the only secondary character to propel the main characters narrative ignores Alex’s role in Lena’s rebellion. Hana and Alex in tandem spark and push Lena’s rebellion and character development.

    While I do think Hana is used as a support for Lena’s development, I see their relationship as unique to the genre and worth exploring further.

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  9. I agree that Hana is a big catalyst for Lena’s eventual rebellion, and I think it’s actually really interesting that they’ve known each other for a long time and then eventually have different ideas– it shows that they have grown up thinking the same or similar opinions, but have grown to develop their own. Lena definitely recognizes this and it seems to hurt her; she’s upset that Hana would hide things from her, like the illegal music websites. I think all girls can relate to this. When we grow up, sometimes we can grow apart from our childhood friends, no matter how hard you try to keep them, because you’re not the same person. Removing this hurt is another “benefit” advertised by the government when people get their surgery. Lena’s Aunt Carol even says at one point to Lena, that “it won’t always be like this,” referring to Lena being hurt by her friend. When Lena is quarantined, it is Hana who comes to her house and becomes Lena’s secret messenger, even with the knowledge that they may never see each other again. Their friendship is long and while tumultuous at times, this shows that they are true to each other, and are willing to sacrifice greatly for one another.

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  10. Responding to your second question, I do not know if a female friendship is necessary to initiate rebellion, but I think that it helps make the novels more relatable to the target audience of young girls. Female friendships are wonderful and strong, and so I think it makes the girls’ rebellions relatable to the reader if it is sparked by a strong friendship. So, while I do not think that a female friendship or secondary character is one hundred percent necessary to spark a rebellion, I think that it makes it easier to market a novel with that premise. The use of female friendships in these novels also works to solidify femininity in the characters. Katniss’s rebellion being sparked by Prim or Rue (depending on how you look at it), works to soften Katniss’s hard exterior, and make her appear nurturing. Lena’s friendship with Hana shows an emotional connection, which she does not have with her cured family members. In this way, female friendships are a tool used to exhibit traditional femininity in the characters.

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    1. Laura, I really liked and appreciated your point stating that although female friendships may not be necessary to initiate rebellion, they do however make the girls’ rebellions relatable to the reader. I think a fantastic way in engaging girls to read YA Dystopian novels is to include a tight female friendship. Female friendships are often a recurrence in a female’s life, no matter how old they get, and usually these friendships stand the test of time, so in this sense, would it be fair to say that these strong bonds would perhaps strengthen a rebellion rather than initiating it? If a rebellion mirrors the (often) unbreakable bond of a female friendship, I can only imagine it would be a worthy rebellion! And although you articulate that the use of female friendships also work to solidify femininity, I would whole heartedly interpret this as a good thing, and is actually one of the traits of femininity that I myself have truly appreciated and adored. I also think (I could be wrong) you see these female friendships as encouraging and inspiring, and I would have to agree, if anything, I think these female friendships should be celebrated, the strength configured between two females, in regards to the novel or contemporary society often exert more power than meets the eye.

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