Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Eric Tribunella

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Jameela Lares

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 3 School



To find the truth of a societal construct or phenomena, it can help to look at the world of fiction and fantasy. Though this idea may seem ironic or counter-intuitive, one will find that fictional literature can reveal the working order of its respective society. Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, uses and manipulates the traditional constructs of the genre to reflect and re-imagine the concepts of adolescence of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Eleven-year-old protagonist Lyra Belacqua and subsequently her cohort, Will Perry, reveal the complications and difficulties modern American and British adolescents experience as they progress towards adulthood and maturation through their fantastical experiences in Pullman’s fictional universe. Moreover, Pullman’s creation of the daemon, the animal representation of one’s soul, allows for the psychological maturation process of adolescence to become tangible. In doing so, Pullman’s trilogy provides a re-conceptualization of modern adolescence while also complicating the genre of epic fantasy.