Archives

All posts by Nina Cherian

Personally, I disagree with everything that Donald Trump has done, and it sparked my interest in wanting to know how he was the person chosen to win the election. Once I started looking at statistics that came out when he was elected in November, I started realizing that there was more to the whole picture than one candidate losing the popular vote. As I started looking into the creation of the United States government, I realized that there were many aspects of its creation that could be considered striving for perfection. This is when I realized that one could say that the United States was created to be a utopia and eventually failed to be one

This realization that the United States is a failed utopia is the focus of my research paper. I am going to present about how there are phrases in the Declaration of Independence that reveal that the founders of the United States were seeking perfection. Another point in my presentation is about how the United States is now labeled as a flawed democracy. This has been the result of citizens no longer trusting their representatives. Below is the link to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Website as well as a link to a NBC article that talks about why the United States is now considered a flawed democracy. The EIU gives countries a score based on factors such as if their government has free elections, the political culture, and political participation. Since the United States has been lacking in some of these countries, they are no longer considered a full democracy.

Another aspect of my presentation is comparing the United States to my novel The Selection by Kiera Cass. The Selection is set in the future United States where a democracy no longer exists. I thought this was interesting because the book is predicting that the current government is flawed and will crumble in the future. The possibility of the United States government not surviving is what I would say is one of the key elements of why it can be considered a dystopia. A crumbling government is key to a dystopia because it allows for someone to come in and change the society that he or she is living in. The possibility that the United States will go through a government change is one of the key elements in my research paper.

http://country.eiu.com/united-states

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/25/us-is-no-longer-a-full-democracy-eiu-warns.html

 

One of the things that interest me the most about dystopias is that they subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) critique the United States. In Little Brother, the constant surveillance creates an image of the future United States where people are always being watched and tracked to keep civil order. Constant surveillance is not a farfetched idea because even today the government can track our every move. This capability is creating paranoia among many people. Little Brother makes the reader think about our current state of surveillance and how our country is one tragedy away from constantly being surveilled.

In The Selection, the book critiques multiple facts about today’s American society. The most obvious criticism in the book is about the popularity of the TV show The Bachelor. The whole series is based around a prince having to pick between 35 girls to find his future wife. There are many scenes throughout the book where girls turn on each other and attack one another verbally, and even physically, to fight for Prince Maxon’s affection. Throughout The Bachelor, there are often moments where the girls do the same thing. By drawing on this plotline, the author created a book that appeals to our society as well as a book that makes readers rethink their enjoyment for the TV show. Another criticism in The Selection is about the stability of the United States government. The Selection takes place after multiple future World Wars which has caused the United States government to become a monarchy. Returning to the government structure that the founding fathers condemned is a criticism because it leads the reader to believe that the United States could be on the path to failure. This criticism of the United States is what I want to focus on for my research paper. Many recent events have led people to organize nationwide protests against actions that have been taken to “protect” them. Although it is unlikely, recent events could be the gateway to the failure of the United States government.

Below are some links that are going to be useful in my research paper. This includes a website about Thomas Jefferson’s ideas and how he believed in creating a perfect United States. There is also a newspaper article about how the United States government is now considered a flawed democracy. These resources are going to be useful in writing my research paper about the way the United States was created to be a utopian society, but in reality is a dystopia.

http://www.businessinsider.com/economist-intelligence-unit-downgrades-united-states-to-flawed-democracy-2017-1http://www.ushistory.org/us/20b.asp

Cass, Kiera. The Selection. HarperTeen, 2012.

The Bachelor. Produced by Mike Fleiss and Lisa Levenson, written by J. Holland Moore and Mike Fleiss, American Broadcasting Company, 25 Mar. 2002.

Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2008.

Media and propaganda are used daily to influence a group of people to believe a certain viewpoint. In today’s day and age, we see different media channels telling the same story in completely different ways. This is why countries that have more of a totalitarian government often have censored media. This way only one message will reach the citizens of that country and conflicts won’t arise because of different viewpoints. Many dystopian societies have a single person who makes the decisions. This person wants to influence the people in a certain way to get them to believe in the same thing. By censoring what the citizens know the leader is able to limit the chances of conflict arising.

In The Hunger Games readers see propaganda and the media used in different ways. In the first and second book only the capitol has access to the media. They send out messages in the form of videos and these videos often remind the districts why they should not rebel against the government. Once the games begin the capitol monitors what districts see which further makes the citizens see only one side of everything. In the third book District 13 starts sending out their own propaganda. This comes in the form of videos that show that they survived the bombing by the capitol. Their videos are also used to persuade citizens to start fighting back against the capitol.

Once the capitol starts seeing these videos they start a propaganda battle with District 13. This is their attempt to retaliate against the possibility of a rebellion starting throughout Panem. The two different sets of propaganda show that if there is more than one opinion conflict may arise. Hindering conflict is why dystopian societies try to limit the media and propaganda that their citizens see.

The following two pictures show the different propaganda that District 13 and the capitol use against each other. One is written as a reminder to the citizens to behave so that they aren’t punished by the Peacekeepers. The colors are friendly and the poster “kindly” reminds citizens that the key to happiness is to make sure that they don’t act out against others. The poster from District 13 is red and black which is bolder and more menacing. The poster uses the Mockingjay as the symbol to come together and fight for freedom. The two posters send across different messages, but they are both influencing the citizens of Panem to believe in a cause.

http://marazzo.deviantart.com/art/The-Hunger-Games-propaganda-poster-1-299245513https://distractedblogger.com/tag/mockingjay/

When I have read dystopian novels, I have realized that certain political figures in the society are trying to create the perfect society to live in. Often this perfect society they create only benefits themselves and they justify certain actions to make them seem okay. These political figures are often all powerful and control everything. For example, in The Hunger Games President Snow is the figure that controls the society. I don’t know the specific history behind Panem, but throughout the book, and the movie, President Snow justifies the slaughtering of children as a way to keep peace. This justification is what makes the people living in the Capitol believe that the games are an okay form of entertainment. Even between districts the games are viewed in different ways. Closer to the capitol, where there is more wealth, the games are seen as a privilege. The farther away you get, the poorer the districts are, the more they hate the games. This change in wealth between districts is what begins to shine light on the fact that Panem is a dystopia. There is unrest between the districts and the Capitol is beginning to lose control which signifies that the system that they have created is no longer going to work. This downfall is something that I have realized is consistent with the dystopian books I have read. The society that is created does not survive when people start realizing that the system isn’t benefiting them. Not only does this downfall occur in dystopian societies, it also happens in utopias. Perfection can only take you so far and eventually it does not survive. People have too many different thoughts and ideas to make a society where everything is decided for them thrive. So maybe calling Panem a utopia is a stretch, but either way societies crumble when people are oppressed throughout their lives by the government.

When you start combining a dystopian novel with other genres, authors create societies that subtly hint at problems that we currently face. Rather than creating a society in the future United States, authors can take the society into space and start adding in elements that would have been perceived as unrealistic had they occurred on Earth. As the genre moves more towards young adult books authors start reaching a different audience. Young adult books that have a dystopian society are starting to have heroes that are younger. This trend is happening because the audience is becoming younger so the authors are adapting to that change. This means that readers who connect dystopian novels to our current society are reading about what is wrong in our world at a younger age.

https://storify.com/benne1rl/why-is-history-relevant-today