Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Flaherty

Second Advisor

Joy Bracewell

Third Advisor

Alex Blazer


This thesis discusses the effect that society has on how children and young adults, particularly those of minority descent, view themselves using the stories of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Between the World and Me, Song of the South, and The Hate U Give as context. Each story focuses on a young protagonist and how they view themselves in the world. Throughout the course of the stories, through the uses of caricatures, tropes, and history, the young protagonists are able to develop an understanding of themselves. The research uses the emotions of fear, shame, and anger within the context of Affect Theory as the foundation of its argument of how young minds grow to develop an understanding of race and self within the world. The findings of this thesis do not align with the psychological development of every child that grows up within the circumstances discussed because people can interpret certain situations differently.