corporations

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I think it is really cool that dystopias, specifically YA dystopias, are able to take some pretty serious subjects and turn them into stories that a wide variety of people can read and understand. Furthermore, I think what interests me most about dystopias is how much they can be related to the world that we live in today. I have seen all sorts of topics in dystopian novels such as role of government, media, surveillance, power, etc. Specifically in my independent reading book, Champion by Marie Lu, as well as in the prequels to Champion, a lot of what happens in the fictional society is influenced by the Media. I hope to discover more about the role of the media and propaganda in dystopia and how it relates to the role of media and propaganda in real life as well. Additionally in the novels, big corporations play a huge role in their society. The Colonies are ruled by four corporations, which demonstrate just how much power the corporations have. I know that the corporations in our world tend to have a certain degree of power, and therefore I am interested in finding out more about the amount of power that corporations in our capitalist society have, and how much power they have over the people.

Example showing how big the media is in our society.

I would also like to relate this back to dystopian novels, and address the reasons that so many of these sorts of novels include themes relating to the media and big corporations. Ultimately I would also like to know what the popularity of these sorts of novels says about our society, or if it says anything at all. Do the themes that I have focused on offer a glimpse into the way our society works now, or possibly what we may face in the future? Or are they just entertaining books that sell?

Image Source: MediaChannel.org

M.T. Anderson’s Feed takes place sometime in the (hopefully) not so near future, with a main emphasis on social media and corporations taking over everything in America, from School^TM to private instant messaging. Subtly, underneath all of the advertising we see clogging Titus’s (the main character) mental feed, we also catch glimpses of a future in which the Earth is nearly too toxic to safely inhabit, and in which America goes to war and cuts off ties with other world powers without much explanation. In this grand scheme of events, the novel focuses on a group of (mostly) uninformed teens who have little to no life experience without a chip in their brains telling them almost everything they could ever need to know. In this dystopia specifically, I’m most interested in the development of technology, how separated the young adults are from the world around them, and how the young adults develop with such a connection between the internet and their brains.

Following these interests, one possible main research question of mine is: What traits do young adults pose that make them so well-suited for the dystopian genre? In Feed, the sheer amount of time spent on social media is strongly emphasized, which is incredibly reminiscent of complaints by parents about their kids in America today. This makes young adults an incredible audience for a story like this because of how well they can relate, perhaps even more so today than when the book was originally published back in 2002. Alternately, another question of mine is: How does the development of technology impact in YA dystopian literature? The impact of technology in Feed is rather intense, as the function of one’s feed chip directly correlates with their brain and therefore their physical and mental health. Are teenagers just rebellious enough naturally to fight back against the system that makes their world a dystopia in the first place? Are young adults better suited to understand world problems when articulated through ways in which they can relate? This is just a taste of some of the questions I’m hoping to answer and understand throughout the ongoing and upcoming research process.