Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mary Rockcastle


Young adult literature is a medium that catapults our youth into fictional realms, gives them courage, and prepares them for realities of our world. As a female warrior, having served as a soldier in Afghanistan, I learned firsthand what a female warrior must be. While there are many YA novels written with women warriors as main characters, there’s a significant lack of female warrior representation that resembles our modern day military and the trials female warriors face in a primarily male-dominated field.

I have examined four authors who have tackled the issue of strong female warriors. While each author depicts particular, authentic aspects of a female warrior’s character, they leave out some crucial characteristics: emotional, mental, and physical strength. If any of these three is lacking, the female warrior must strengthen the weakness, so her true potential can be attained.

I examine the character traits and messages of these fictional works in light of the realities I experienced as a member of the military. I also bring in research about women in the military and critical articles written about female warriors.

In the novel I am writing, my experience has led me to create an accurate portrait of a modern-day female warrior. She is tough, but she also lives in a male-centric world that always stands ready to criticize her every weakness. My portrait of a female warrior always works to better herself so she can stand ready to protect and defend. In my novel, the main character stands at the cusp of a life choice to become a warrior, and she must follow through with her decision in the wake of the unexpectedly harsh military culture where nothing of worth is expected of her.

Walker_DHP Fiction.docx (14839 kB)
Creative Component








Departmental Honors Project