dystopias

All posts tagged dystopias

Climate change is a pressing issue of our time, if not the single most pressing one. It is easy to ignore because it is creeping up on us slowly, progressively. The primary propagators of this problem, large firms and governments, choose profits over our own well-being. The secondary issue is educating people about global warming. This is hard since society has no real way to relate to it today.  This is where the media comes into play. TV shows, movies, and books give their audience a means to relate to the issues they discuss. When We Wake just does that with climate change.

The reader is plopped into a dystopian Australia, on an Earth where global warming has run rampant. Where there used to be land, there is now an ocean. The gaping hole in the ozone layer does not filter the sun’s rays, so people live underground. Meat has become a luxury good, since cattle produce harmful greenhouse gases. Coastal Sydney has been swallowed by the Pacific Ocean These are all projections for our own world. At this rate, in fifty years, this will be planet Earth.

But the climate change doesn’t just pertain to temperatures and weather patterns, but also to the political climate. A lack of regulation due to international competition has led to distrust amongst the world’s nations which means tighter border controls, and a rise in racism. Unfortunately, early traces of this can already be seen today. Flagship nations such as the USA, Russia, and China are ignoring climate regulation in fear of falling behind the others on a competitive level. Brazil and Australia are already falling behind the Paris Agreement, and President Trump is debating withdrawing the USA from the agreement altogether. It is easy to see how such “competition” could lead to the level of political pressure present in When We Wake.

While I was aware of all the issues and projections of climate change, When We Wake is the book that made it feel real. The world was immersive and believable and I believe it is an eye opener to anyone, no matter how well versed they are on the topic of global warming.

Works Cited

Healey, Karen. When We Wake. Auckland, N.Z., Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, 2015

Censorship is the prevention of certain ideas, phrases, or images from reaching the general public. Throughout history, censorship has occurred in the form of banning and challenging books. Although countless authors have warned against the idea of censorship, it is still prevalent today. Moreover, censorship and book challenging is especially common among YA dystopian novels. In my research, I will be discussing the effects of censorship in YA dystopian literature. Why are these books banned, and how does it affect the targeted young adult audience?

 

Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of the most frequently challenged books of the year and the reasoning for banning them. Within these lists are countless YA dystopian novels. Titles such as The Hunger Games and Feed are frequently on such lists. What is interesting about many of the challenged and banned novels is that their reasoning for being banned is often obscure. For example, The Hunger Games was once challenged for the “religious viewpoint”(Biller). It is interesting to me that parents would choose to challenge a book based off of a said religious viewpoint when there is so much violence that would be easier to challenge.

 

Another interesting aspect of censorship I wish to uncover is false censorship. My independent novel, Delirium, had some sources claim it was banned or challenged, yet I have not found any conclusive information. Could this be a marketing tactic used by the author to draw attention from young readers? It has been found that banned books are more popular among young readers because they feel that in a sense they are being rebellious by reading content that is deemed explicit. Additionally, Lauren Oliver, the author, has appeared in a YouTube live video about censorship and its effects in the past. A small detail in Delirium also covers the idea that books that promote love are banned from the fictional society.

 

Finally, I hope to uncover some of the effects censorship has on young adults. The content of ya dystopian literature was written by authors to address topics they felt the youth ought to be able to comprehend. Are parents being overbearing in their quest to put an end to what they deem unsuitable literature? The content is meant to evoke emotions about the current and past political states and promote change in society. By banning and challenging books that contain such important material, what are we teaching the young adults of today’s society?

 

Works Cited:

Biller, Diana and Charlie Jane Anders. “The 12 Weirdest Reasons for Banning Science Fiction and      Fantasy Books.” io9, Gizmodo, Sept 2014, http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-12-weirdest-reasons-for- banning-science-fiction-and-1639136022

http://www.bannedbooksweek.org

 

https://rampages.us/mtzim33/effects-of-censorship-of-literature-on-minor-students/

Dystopian novels are often trying to teach a lesson. Young adult dystopian novels are teaching lessons about dating and love. The millennial generation has an unromantic attitude with high expectations, and specific dystopian books such as The Hunger Games, The Giver, and Matched present situations that act as warnings.

My presentation will discuss the main sources of evidence for the research essay. In The Hunger Games, love is manipulated as a source of entertainment and a form of political propaganda. The Giver concerns a society with a lack of feelings, and such a society is the opposite of human nature. Emotions are what makes us human, and removingfeelings essentially reduces us to empty shells. In Matched and The Giver, the Matching Ceremony and the Matching of Spouses are identical processes that select ideal life partners for the citizens, which accurately reflects the formulas used by dating sites.

The attitudes towards romance in the dystopian novels often are a part of a bigger picture, and they reflect certain values the authors feel are important. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, is highlighting the manipulation of love as entertainment and propaganda. It is important for readers to acknowledge the importance of the ability to recognize the difference between fake and authentic portrayals of romance. The author of Matched, Ally Condie, and the author of The Giver, Lois Lowry, are both emphasizing how ideal life partners are not truly perfect, and how a life without emotion is not one worth living.

 

The topic of romance in dystopias is important, since today’s society tends to emphasize on social lives and relationships. The social construct of a society can greatly impact lives, and dating is an important part of our social lives. In the context of dystopia, romance and dating can greatly shape the way a society is set up.

A utopia is defined as a perfect, unachievable society. All of the citizens are happy and it is typically an idealized version of our current state. Authors aim to improve upon the current state in which we live by offering subtle recommendations of change, either socially or politically. A dystopia is a society that has turned to the worst. Most often, dystopias are societies with little to no social justice and a general unhappiness among its citizens. Authors write dystopian novels to warn readers about the potential road to destruction they believe our society is on.

Dystopian novels often contain sub-genres such as science fiction or romance. Science fiction in dystopias reflects “our hopes and fears about the future, and more specifically, [links] those hopes and fears to science and technology” (Claeys 138). This is evidenced by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The main character, Montag, is a book burner for a society that’s increased its reliance on technology has killed free thought. As a direct result, books are banned and burned. Montag one day develops a curiosity about books and begins to read them. The thoughts provoked by his reading made him even more intellectually curious. He begins to subtly take more and more books from houses he is sent to burn. Montag soon realizes that society is slowly becoming mindless as the people around him fail to engage in meaningful conversation and quiver with fear at the sight of a simple book. In the end, Montag barely escapes from his former coworkers turned enemies and helps to rebuild the city with rebel book readers, restoring free thought in society.

When it comes to Young Adult dystopian novels, the authors are trying to achieve the same goal. YA dystopian novels are a warning to future generations. It is interesting to note that many dystopian novels are commonly on the banned book lists for public libraries. Parents believe their children are not old enough to cope with the violence commonly featured in such books, yet authors target a youth audience. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games series is a perfect example of this. The entire series has remained in the top ten most wanted banned books lists for the past five years, yet it is one of the most loved YA dystopian novels today. This shows that authors are trusting in younger generations, and although the books are targeted towards young adults, the major themes are lessons for everyone.

 

Works Cited:

Claeys, Gregory, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

The idea of a dystopia is an intriguing one – a world that was supposed to be perfect, but has somehow turned out horribly wrong. Why do so many horrible realities start out with such good intentions? I guess the saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, has more than a grain of truth to it. We all live in an imperfect world, it cannot be argued otherwise. However, the difference between our imperfect world and a nightmarish dystopia is a simple one: the efforts of good people. Our own world is continually pulled into times of grief, wars with bloodshed, and the loss of innocent lives, but in the midst of all the bad, there are always the efforts of good people. Leaders striving to make a change for the better in the lives of their followers; soldiers fighting for the freedom and safety of their countrymen and women; ordinary, everyday people who believe that life is more than personal gain. In a dystopia, every aspect of society has rotted away into some kind of dehumanizing suppression. There is no “good” so to speak. I believe this is why there is so much attraction to the dystopian genre of YA fiction.

Dystopias have just enough resemblance to our own, broken world that we can relate to the characters, but hold the fascination of a reality that has never truly existed. The Millennial Generation as well as Generation Z have grown up with the ability to reside part-time in different realities than the one real life claims. Unlimited access to internet means unlimited access to the worlds of thousands of tv shows and movies; video games create a virtual reality that gamers love to get lost in for hours. The youth of today have grown up with the expectation of a radically different tomorrow, and considering that many of the popular YA dystopias take place in the future, is it really any surprise that the genre holds a particular interest to us “young folk”?

Within the genre of YA dystopias, there are many combinations with other genres (ex: romance, sci-fi, apocalypse). When a dystopia is given an extra layer, other than the typical, radicalized government control, the story is able to appeal to different audiences. Personally, I enjoy dystopias with a sci-fi theme, but shout out to all my TWD fans, you all probably lean more toward the apocalypse themed dystopia. Combining genres gives writers opportunities to appeal to different audiences, as well as  the ability for deeper social commentary.