We Know the Devil: Development versus Rebirth, and Queer Temporalities

For the final project for my young adult literature class this fall, I was tasked with creating a video essay combining a particular young adult text of our choice and research into a topic relevant to it and young adult literature as a whole.

The text I chose was We Know the Devil, a visual novel by the duo Worst Girls Games. To quote the game’s official description,
“Anyone can kill the devil; that’s why they always make teens the vampire slayers, the magical girls. But some kids can’t even get that right. That’s why mean girl Neptune, tomboy Jupiter, and shy, shy Venus have to endure one more week of summer camp and each other, singing boring songs about Jesus, doing busywork for adults, and hoping god’s radio can’t hear them. Before they can leave the Summer Scouts, they’ve got to spend twelve hours in the loneliest cabin in the woods, wait for the devil to come, and live through the night–or not. You know.”

I decided to examine the game through two different angles provided by Annis Pratt’s seminal work Archetypal Patterns in Women’s Fiction:
first, as a “Novel of Development”, a coming of age story with the goal of assimilating its protagonists into society;
and second, as a “Novel of Transformation”, a spiritual rebirth story with the goal of having its protagonists come to disregard the standards of society for the sake of finding their own happiness.
Does the game do the former? The latter? Both? Neither?
You’ll have to watch the video to find out!

I’ve also made the script to the video public so you can read along while you watch or reference it later. Click here to view it.

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