Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jay Rajiva

Second Advisor

Dr. LeeAnne Richardson

Third Advisor

Dr. Juliana Kubala


This thesis expands on young adult (YA) scholarship by applying feminist and trauma theory to characters who self-harm in contemporary YA literature. In doing so, I emphasize how self-harm allows these specific characters to transform their bodies into books, serving as a complex method of nonverbal communication. By focusing on the significance of how the characters use their bodies as conduits of communication through cutting, I show how Camille from Sharp Objects and Callie from Cut are able to write their own stories by claiming and embodying their trauma, and how the literary form presents complexities of self-harm that other forms of narrative do not. By offering this re-reading of Callie and reading of Camille, this essay aims to expand the field of YA scholarship by applying intersecting theories from feminist theory and psychology, ultimately arguing for a renewed perspective of women who self-harm and YA literature.


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