Date of Award

4-2-2019

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

English Creative Writing-BA

Department

English

Advisor

Dr. Shannon Lakanen, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dr. James Gorman, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michele Acker, Ph.D.

Keywords

Inuit, Fiction, Young Adult, Mythology, Shaman, Magical Realism

Subject Categories

Children's and Young Adult Literature | International and Comparative Education | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority

Abstract

This project is both a creative and critical foray into Inuit mythology. The Critical Preface unpacks how magical realism, young adult literature, and multicultural literature shaped the writing of the project, which is the first five chapters of a novel-in-progress titled Angakkuq. Angakkuq tells the story of a teenage girl, Alasi, of Inuit and American heritage living in the U.S. who begins experiencing strange, seemingly magical phenomena. As her story unfolds, she finds herself at the intersection of the past and the present, struggling to formulate her own identity while more and more is revealed about her father’s childhood growing up in an Inuit community in Canada. Questions of history, ancestry, family and what it means to belong to two different worlds inform this novel, as well as research on Inuit storytelling, mythology, culture, history, and modern beliefs. The character of the shaman serves as the point around which the story pivots, a figure who is both conduit and messenger between the spiritual and physical worlds. Through the lens of literature, and fiction in particular, myth and reality are woven together into a coming-of-age narrative that examines what role multicultural YA literature plays in the larger canon and in the lives of readers. As Alasi learns more about Inuit mythology, her heritage, and why her family is the way it is, she begins to find her place in the world; her questions and struggles can resonate with readers of all backgrounds and with teen readers in particular. This work tells a story that is not often told while at the same time offering questions and experiences that are universal.

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