Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet and the Young Adult Reader: Understanding the Real World through Narrative Transportation Approach


Young Adult science fiction is a growing body of work in the science fiction genre that encourages its readers to envision, evaluate, and question contemporary and future real-world incidents. This paper explores the effect of narrative transportation on young adult readers of Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet, a YA science fiction novel. One of the main aspects narrative transportation theory examines is how literature fosters teens' understanding and awareness of themselves and of issues important to them. In this sense, Space Cadetengages the young adult reader with its narrative, its characters, and other significant sociopolitical notions like gender roles, the representation of “other,” and the politics of racism. Thus, by being immersed in the narrative and engaging with the explicit and implicit themes represented in the novel, transported young adult readers, we argue, may participate in changing existing social and political notions and (re)constructing their individuality through absorbing the traits, beliefs, and responsibilities of the fictitious juvenile protagonist and his experience, as well.


Aya Akkawi and Rasha Maqableh


character identification, gender roles, narrative transportation, other, politics