Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Jameela Lares

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Eric Tribunella

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 3 School



Young adult Gothic horror fiction acts as a coming-of-age story wherein the protagonists must confront the metaphorical and literal ghosts while simultaneously attempting to establish a sense of identity. Applying Gothic theory and ghost theory to the ghostly stories in young adult Gothic horror demonstrates how certain young adult Gothic stories represent the struggle of adolescents as they mature into adulthood and search for their identities. I use Madeline Roux’s Asylum (2013) and D.J. MacHale’s The Light (2010) as case studies to analyze how ghostly antagonists directly oppose adolescent protagonists on their coming-of-age journeys. Analyzing these young adult Gothic horror novels through the lens of the aforementioned theories allows for a different understanding of the genre of young adult Gothic, shedding a new light on the mechanics of the genre within the discourse surrounding young adult overall. This new understanding of how YA Gothic horror works sheds light on how all horror texts operate as coming-of-age stories for their protagonists who must confront and overcome their individual fears, emerging on the other side as more mature, self-assured, and autonomous people.