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Here is a video an English teacher created about dystopia. First, she defines the general definition of what dystopia means and how is it different from a utopia. Then, she goes more in-depth on the topic by describing the key characteristics that make up a dystopia. The next slide discusses the types on control a dystopia can have. By understanding the dystopia societies, the audience would know what is happening in that society and why it is happening. Did he or she have no choice based on the people or person he or she is against or was it the best way to do what is right? Last but most important thing is the protagonist. The protagonist is there so that the audience can feel what it is like to live in a certain world through the eyes of the protagonist. Most of the time, you will be able to imagine the conditions and see what choices people make and why. Yes, it is easy to say that what the character did was wrong to do or there could have been an alternative solution for the problem. However, if you put in that situation, what would you have done? Hopefully, this video sheds some light on some key things to remember when dealing with dystopias. Enjoy!

During my research presentation, I will be talking what makes dystopias so popular to young adults. There will be discussing five main points that will support my thesis: types of dystopian societies, restrictions as a definition of dystopian societies, the role of young adults in dystopia, the connection between the audience and dystopia literature, and what makes them popular. As you may have known already, every dystopia has some type of control, whether it be by the government, a group of people, or a single person. Identifying the control of a dystopia can make it easier for the reader to understand what is happening in that society. I also want to talk about how the control of a dystopia wants children to behave and why. Why does government control take major risks in order to stay in control? In most dystopias, the main character is usually a young adult in their teens because they are the ones that are mostly affected by the dystopian control. The connection that lies between dystopia literature and young adults is a true definition of patterns that follow through with these young adults. Young adults are revolted by the attitudes and actions that that happen within their societies. They do not find it right that others are smug and bear no feelings towards the injustices and cruelty committed upon human beings. Some people think that dystopian literature would be more appealing to young adults and adolescents merely because it does touch on romantic and platonic relationships. However, a lot of young adults may relate with this as the struggle to transition into adulthood and find one’s identity has been on for the longest time. Base on the events that have occurred in our generation these past couple of years, this makes it easier for authors to have their characters relate to us in the role they play in their community. By reading their books, we gain some type of knowledge of what can happen to us someday and makes us realize that we need to stand up for what is right now than to what when it is too late later on.

I think the most interesting thing about dystopias is what people are willing to do in order to do what is right for them or what they need to do in order to stay alive. Seeing people make these sacrifices and risks to save the ones they love or themselves truly opens your eyes to the type of people humans can be when put into certain situations. Let’s take The Summer Prince example. My independent reading is about a place ruled my queens that can serve up to two five years’ terms. Every five years, a king is chosen to take the throne for one year and then dies in a bloody sacrifice. This reminded me of the TV show the 100. In the show, people were sacrificed in order to protect the queen just like what they are doing in my book. In their minds, the queen is sacred to their people and is the leader. She knows what needs to be done because she has the power to remember her other lives. Another thing I realized is that most dystopias I have read or watched before has some type of love in it. Whether it’s between a brother and his sister, a mother and her child, or two people who will do anything for each other, love has a strong will of making people do things they never thought they could do before. An example can be Lincoln and Octavia in the show the 100. Lincoln is a grounder and Octavia is a sky crew.  Their love puts them in danger with their people and yet, they still want to be together. Lincoln gave up his home and the will to live with his people to be with his beloved Octavia, even though some human does not trust him because he is a grounder. Their love is just one of many examples that most dystopias show. I believe by having that type of mood in a dystopia can make its audience seem like the film or book is more relatable and interesting.

 

Between the dystopia books I have read and the movies I have watched, each dystopia has some type of control playing out in the plot of the books or films. The people within the society are being controlled, but we have to figure out what type of control is playing out. Is the control from the government, a single person acting as a dictator, or technology? Which every control the dystopia you are watching or reading has, every dystopia has something in common: propaganda.

Propaganda is like advertisement to persuade people to do or think a certain way. Dystopia uses propaganda to make a citizen be biased toward an idea, a person, or a group of people. Here, look at the propaganda below and think about what it is trying to do.

What is the first thing that pops into your head? To me, seeing the word “HOPE” make me think of the changes America is making these days. Barack Obama is the first and only black president we have had in the White House. That itself is a big change for Americans, especially for African American. It makes citizens believe that there is hope after all for change to happen to make America better than it was before.

Dystopia makes their audience think what would happen if this certain event happens to the world. Using  propaganda, controlling the citizens of the society becomes a little easier for whom every wants them to be controlled. Propaganda makes it harder for people to have an opinion of their own about something or someone. For example, let’s look at the company Puma. Puma is well known fashion company founded in 1948. A lot of people used to wear their products a lot in the beginning and then people stop wearing and buying products because it was old fashioned to them. Puma now has to persuade people that they are the new and improve fashion company by having famous Olympian Usain Bolt wears their clothes to advertise their styles in the world. By doing this, Usain Bolt is helping them persuade people that wearing Puma is cool and is the new fashion to wear just because he is wearing it. People look up to celebrities as a guide for what to wear and what to have. Just like in The Hunger Games, President Coin had Katniss be in the video so that she can inspire and persuade people from other districts to fight with her against the Capital.

Since I was about 10 years old, I always had an interest in movies, books and anything else that were dystopias. At the time, I didn’t know they were called dystopias. I just knew that they had to deals with the change of human beings if the world was a certain way. Now after being in this class, I found out that these films and book called dystopias. There are some books and movies that are utopias and others that are dystopias.

In utopia, it’s a place where society is perfect. That means there are no conflicts occurring here. In literature, utopia is referred to this orderly community where everyone is living in harmony. Some of the novels get their inspiration from the history of utopian communities in the US. In the 1830’s and 1840’s, some communities like New Harmony and the Oneida Community were utopian communes that were established in the US.

In dystopia or also called as anti-dystopia, there is a community where people are miserable and depressed because of how society is set up. Novels are more commonly known as a dystopian novel or as apocalyptic literature. In literature, a dystopian text would have a controlling government, huge poverty, and people not being able to freely think for themselves because someone it telling them what is right or there is propaganda around to influence their minds.


Between the different genres, I feel that dystopian novels are the same when it comes to the concepts but the events and overall plot of the novel can be really different. I lot of YA novels that are about dystopia are written for children ages 12 to 17. Children those ages read a lot more and have a wild imagination when it comes to utopias. Science fiction novels are the most popular. It contains an equal amount of drama, fantasy, and action. Having all these components makes a novel very interesting and enjoyable to read.

SOURCES:

“Utopian Literature – Discussion and examples of utopias, dystopias, ecotopias and other speculative fiction.” Utopian Literature – Discussion and examples of utopias, dystopias, ecotopias and other speculative fiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

“Dystopia.” Literary Devices. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.