Since her debut in 1930, Nancy Drew has been an extremely popular character and icon for adolescent girls. Created by Edward Stratemeyer and developed by Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, Nancy Drew continues to influence and inspire generations of readers. Readers are drawn to Nancy Drew's character and her ability to escape into the world of River Heights, away from the tumultuous climate of the Great Depression and ensuing wars. Significantly, Nancy Drew's enduring power and influence stems from five cultural and social paradoxes: child v. adult, masculine v. feminine, independent v. dependent, single v. couple, and classic v. modern. This thesis explores how throughout the series, Nancy embodies each extreme of these dualities, which gives her the power to be everything to everyone. Nancy derives power from these five paradoxes, which by definition are contradictory, but afford her special privileges in her fictional world. In embodying these binaries, Nancy Drew provides adolescent readers with an escape from and a role model for adolescence and future adulthood.
- The Case of the Contradiction: Proving the Paradoxes of Nancy Drew
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