Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Inspired by the researcher’s work with five displaced New Orleans teenagers in the months after Hurricane Katrina, this research examined twelve young adult novels in which characters face a loss of or damage to home in the wake of a natural or humanly-caused disaster. The study sought ways in which home is represented in young adult literature of disaster by analyzing passages in which characters discuss, remember, imagine, and rebuild or reestablish home after its damage or loss. A phenomenological approach was used to examine these fictional experiences of home in order to discern their contribution to an understanding of the concept of home itself. Findings indicated that the novels represented home as a complex concept brought to light in its absence. Characters’ experiences of home included elements of the social (relationship with others in home places); the personal (identity and ownership); the physical/geographical (locations that are home); the instinctual (an innate drive to seek a place of safety and shelter); the emotional (emotional connections to home and the emotional upheaval of displacement); and the temporal/historical (time spent in home places). With disaster continuing to strike across the globe—earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados—a deeper understanding of the nature of displacement and the ways in which home is conceptualized and rebuilt is of value for both the teens who read young adult literature and the adults who work with them. By attending to the ways in which characters grapple with notions of home in the face of disaster, teachers, librarians, and researchers can gain insight into the needs of those displaced from home. Readers, both teens and adults, can gain empathy regarding the experience of home’s loss, and those who find themselves struggling with recreating a sense of home can find comfort and insight in characters’ experiences.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Trousdale, Ann



Included in

Education Commons