Cyborgs, Wolves, and Aliens, Oh My: Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles and Diversity in YA Fairy Tale Retellings

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Virginia Tech


The following study is interested in questions of diversity and inclusiveness in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, a tetralogy of best-selling young adult fairy tale revisions comprised of Cinder (2012), Scarlet (2013), Cress (2014), and Winter (2015). Scholars have expended significant energy defining the fairy tale, tracing its history and development, and analyzing 20th-century adult fairy tale revisions informed by second-wave feminism. However, little scholarly attention has been paid to young adult fairy tale revisions of the 21st Century and less still on The Lunar Chronicles. This study begins the work of filling that gap. Through a close reading of The Lunar Chronicles, I argue that Meyer's tetralogy is an influential, complex, and thematically comprehensive example of an ongoing shift away from feminist fairy tale revisions for adults toward young adult fairy tale revisions that focus on diversity and inclusiveness. My project begins with a chapter situating Meyer's work in the context of existing fairy tale scholarship and the burgeoning emphasis on diversity in contemporary American culture and young adult publishing. The following three chapters provide, respectively, a close reading of The Lunar Chronicles focused on racial identity, gender and sexuality, and disabilities. In showcasing more recent YA fairy tale retellings, the final chapter seeks to draw some tentative conclusions about the continuing importance of diversity and inclusiveness in an evolving genre of reimagined fairy tales for a young adult audience.



Fairy tales, Marissa Meyer, The Lunar Chronicles, retelling, diversity, inclusivity, race, gender and sexuality, disability, young adult fiction