11 July 2015
The genre of Young Adult Fiction appeals to young adults with relatable scenarios such as search for identity, family struggles and relationships that typically occurs during an individual’s young adult phase. In the book For the Win (2010), Cory Doctorow portrays the elements of Young Adult fiction as a genre through the lives of the teenage characters Matthew, Leonard and Mala. Doctorow does this by creating a setting where several young adults from different parts of the world are seriously involved in gaming to the point where it is a serious part of shaping their lives. For the Win falls under the category of Young Adult fiction because it targets a young adult audience with themes that reflect their issues/interests at a certain point in life.
A genre convention Doctorow uses in his book is connecting real young adult issues to the story, such as the pursuit of young adults’ own interests. In the book, virtual life and the importance of playing games to make money for several adolescents relate to real teenagers’ journey to self discovery. Each character has a different story, but ultimately the goals of the young adults are the same: to make profit from interests. The character Matthew demonstrates how a young adult might encounter the situation where they realize how they want to shape their future. “One day Matthew woke up and realized that he’d had enough of working for Boss Wing. That was when he decided that he would become his own man. That was when he set out to be Boss Fong.” (8). This is an example of the mindset of a young adult who is trying to become their own person and putting their life together. This element appeals to pathos for the audience because they can feel the emotions of a young adult trying desperately to pursue their passion despite many obstacles.
Similar to YA fiction, For the Win displays certain aspects of young adult life such as taking on responsibility and facing the real world. Doctorow creates a situation in his book in which the protagonist has reached the stage where they are responsible for using her own ability to make money instead of solely for pleasure. The character Mala portrays that very situation where young adults eventually have responsibilities they have to own up to. When Ammaji says, “Now, Mala, I know you want to be good to your friends, but you have to think of your family first” (17), it appeals to pathos by sympathizing with those who also have to carry the burden of playing an important role in the household in their teenage years. This shows that Doctorow acknowledges that young adults often face obstacles in life that are most life changing and more significant than at other stages in life.
Young Adult Fiction aims to teach people that adolescents have certain needs when they are developing in life. The character Leonard, is engulfed in the virtual world and creates a new identity for him as “weidong” (21). The surrounding environment indeed does play a role in an adolescent’s life, like how Leonard is surrounded by foreigners while engulfed in virtual life. Doctorow also makes his story realistic by having his characters face reality where they have to give up what they want to do because it isn’t the best for them, like how Leonard end up getting sent to a strict academy because he needs a new environment to develop. For the Win demonstrates how Young Adult literature can be meant for educating Young Adults by teaching that the surrounding environment can be crucial for a developing teenager.
In conclusion, the book For the Win relates to Young Adult fiction because it covers all the elements that are important in the young adult stage. Doctorow discusses major themes for young adults such as bearing responsibilities, searching for identity, and family by using several different characters and stories. Young adult fiction reflects issues that mainly occur during the young adult stage and teaches the audience about it, and in the same way, For the Win does so.
Doctorow, Cory. For the Win. New York: Tor, 2010. Print.
Palmquist, Tira. Anteater’s Guide to Writing and Rhetoric. 4th ed. Hayden-McNeil, 2014. Print.
Wikipedia. Web. 12 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-adult_fiction>.