Date of Award

Fall 2021

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Paul D. Reich

Committee Member

Benjamin Hudson

Committee Member

Jill C. Jones


Literature is often centered around the human desire for connection and the struggle to understand one another. This tension is heightened in novels centering adolescents and young adults, who are often insecure in their own identities. J.D. Salinger's fiction is a hallmark of this thematic exploration, yet he fails to interrogate dimensions of gender and class in a meaningful way. Sally Rooney's contemporary work subverts Salinger's within plot structure, distanced communication as a device, and self-synecdoche of distress, as well as her open engagement with class and gender. She demonstrates the power of reckoning with one's own identity, revealing how this opens up individuals to positive change and human connection.

Rights Holder

Emily O'Malley