2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Cupid's Gauntlet: How Apocalyptic Romance Novels Further Abusive Relationships

Marliere G. Toothaker
Dr. Dereck Daschke, Faculty Mentor

With the romance genre defined by a standard structure--girl meets guy, they struggle, then end up falling in love-- is there purpose to using a setting that struggles to foster a romantic atmosphere? The apocalyptic romance subgenre is not cookie cutter in look, but it has the same structure, with its own set of violent, exploitative tropes. These include a character being hurt and requiring salvation, a powerful being falling in love with a human, and a powerful being refusing to let the unpowerful person die or are fascinated with them. The Four Horsemen Series by Laura Thalassa crucially highlights the importance of these tropes and their meaningfulness to the intended audience. The differences made to the story, compared to a normal romance, are to help process traumas. Setting books in the apocalypse adds justification for abuse and gives the reader a way to explore the concept safely.

Keywords: Apocalypse, Romance , Abuse, Literature, Four Horsemen, Sex, Book of Revelation, Religion

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 204-5
Location: SUB GEO C
Time: 11:15

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