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All posts by Joshua Okogie

There are a lot of elements of a Dystopia that excite me. Honestly, to me, I argue that the most exciting part is just the social disobedience or civilians who turn against the oppression of the government. My independent reading book is called Candor by Pam Bachorz. It’s a story that takes place in Candor, Florida. The protagonist is Oscar Banks and he is the son of the founder of Candor. Oscar is the kid that everyone wants to be like. He makes straight A’s, he gets invited to all sorts of clubs. However, he finds out that his dad send subliminal messages throughout the day that controls people’s actions. Oscar starts a business to counter his dad’s schemes. He tries to get people out of Candor before they get turned. It is effective because no one would ever expect Oscar to be doing it. This is what I find most interesting about dystopias. The fact that someone’s dad could be the founder of a community, yet his son is willing to go against him, because he knows it’s wrong. Additionally, Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is a great example of how people have socially and civilly disobeyed the government, because they knew the truth.

In addition to the elements of dystopia that I find interesting, there are also parts I don’t understand. What I don’t comprehend is how most dystopian stories have a love/romantic appeal between characters. Personally, I believe that this element makes a better story line and it makes the story more interesting. Additionally, it gives characters motives when they know that they are doing something for someone that they are in love with. In my independent reading book, Candor, Oscar meets a girl named Nia that he really likes, but in order to save her, it means getting her out of Candor before she is changed. Doing so would lead to Oscar never seeing her again. As stated before, Katniss and Peeta were lovebirds in The Hunger Games. Both the The Hunger Games and Candor exemplify how love is used to explain the idea of dystopia.

In a Dystopia, the use of propaganda is very important, because the people are only as strong as what they know. So the more their minds are manipulated, the better you can control them. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol put on the news periodically, so all the districts can hear. Since the districts do not know what goes on outside their parameters, they have no choice but to believe what the Capitol speaks about. In the book, in the movie “The Mockingjay” Katniss and District 13 used propaganda to fuel the rebellion against the Capitol. At times, the districts did n0t know whether or not Katniss was alive or what state Panem was in; but by the use of propaganda, they were able to have constant communication with all the other districts and they kept the Capitol on their heels. The Capitol also used propaganda to put fear in those who tried to rebel against them. They tried to double the whippings and they showed people what will happen when you go against the Capitol. Propaganda is how Panem maintained its existence. The Capitol always kept tabs with the districts and they knew how and what to say to keep each district in check. They even lied about Katniss’s death to stop a rebellion. Also, propaganda was used to show the citizens in each district how good the hunger games were. It portrayed the hunger games as a good way to show your love and sacrifice for Panem. It was used effectively, because some citizens loved the hunger games and felt like it was such an honor to participate while the whole Capitol was cheering for them. Also, providing incentives, like a house and food for a year was a great way to get everyone to buy in for the games.

From my perspective, a utopia is a setting where everyone is equal. A place where everything is “perfect.” When I was younger, I used to be excited thinking that this was achievable. However, as I started growing up, each story I read about a utopia had one thing in common; they never worked out. For example, in the book The Giver, Everything started off well, but at the end the perfect society failed. Additionally, in a utopia, someone has to be in control. There has to be a leader or an oligarchy that is behind the scenes to make sure everyone is in their right place. Also, they have to control what the people know to make sure that one person is not smarter than the next. The moment that happens, whoever is in control automatically, makes him/herself better off than the population which makes the utopia “not perfect.” For example, in the movie The Divergent, everyone was equal, but there was a government that made sure there were rules and that the people abided by it. Consequently, just like The Giver, The society failed.

Generally, I like when the idea of a Utopia is combined with action, because it often physically depicts how the people will rebel against the government. Action has always been one of my favorite genres, so adding the utopian idea makes the whole concept that more interesting for me. As far as the Young Adult genre, it changes the way utopian societies are portrayed. As a young adult, I look for more a thrill when reading. So if I was an author, if I wanted to write a book about utopias for young adults, I would make it more fun and interesting to attract my audience. A book like The Hunger Games is a great example of a piece of literature that best fits a young adult.