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Moonlit revelations: the discourse of the end in Gina B. Nahai's Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith

Free, Anna (2006) Moonlit revelations: the discourse of the end in Gina B. Nahai's Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith. Papers: Explorations into children's literature, 16(2), pp. 35-39.

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Abstract

Young adult fiction often engages with what Derrida terms a discourse of the end, a paradoxical notion that is evident - yet hidden - in such fictions. For Derrida, a discourse of the end is the haunted existence that surrounds extreme events, where the presence of the end is the 'staging for the end of history' that we simultaneously comprehend, yet it is incomprehensible (1974, p.10). One aspect of the discourse of the end is the post-apocalyptic, which Berger describes as: 'Everything that follows the revelation is postapocalyptic' (Berger 1999, p.138). The post-apocalyptic is evident in the novel Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith (Nahai 1999) where the women have sensed the 'doom' that surrounds a daughter in each generation for the last 1000 years. Moonlight is written by an Iranian 'exile' (as Nahai puts it) living in America, and set in a Jewish Iranian culture in the midst of political upheaval and religious persecution. The narrative focuses on the matrilineal heritage of Lili, a teenage girl, and the role that prophecy has played in her family's lives. Particularly, the novel focuses on her mother (Roxanna) and the events leading to, and following, her disappearance when Lili was still a girl. In this paper, I first delve into the discourse of the end, and then comment on how this concept can bring the importance of the interwoven narration, the events of the story, and character constructions together into a post-apocalyptic understanding of the text. Although Moonlight has many potential avenues for exploration, I will be focusing on the role of the revelation by using concepts of hiddenness (Bull 1999), protention/portention (Derrida 1974), and the post-apocalyptic (Berger 1999). This combination of theoretical perspectives offers a new scholarly direction in the analysis of young adult fiction.

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ID Code: 22614
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Literary Theory, Young Adult Fiction, Derrida, Post-apocalypse
ISSN: 1034-9243
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Deakin University, School of Literary and Communication Studies
Deposited On: 17 Jun 2009 23:17
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 19:31

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