In my research paper, I will briefly follow the transformation of the role of women in literature—from Greek mythology to 20th century literature—and I will try to identify the reason for this transformation.
I will begin my presentation, titled “Dystopia: Women and Leadership” by stating my working thesis, which is as follows: “While the role of women in various types of genres are overshadowed by the role of male figures, women—young women specifically—play dominant and powerful roles in dystopian literature. These young women play roles that vary, but generally, they prove to be essential in rebellion, as they lead the oppressed against the oppressor.”
To provide specific contemporary examples of young women playing these leadership roles, I will mainly focus on The Hunger Games… I know, I’m tired of The Hunger Games too… Little Brother, and The Knife of Never Letting Go, which I chose as my independent reading book. Each of these three books are written by writers who most likely identify with the feminist movement. I will provide a brief background on the origin of feminism and talk about how it’s believed that it officially became a thing after the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.
Then, I will offer some examples of literary works that include women whose roles are simply overshadowed by those of male protagonists. Evidently, that still happens today, but it is much less common, specifically in YA dystopia. Interestingly enough, during my research, I encountered numerous articles that discussed the increasingly significant roles of male protagonists in YA dystopia. This was the most interesting part of my research. In The Hunger Games, for example, Peeta, and even Gale to some extent, play crucial roles along with Katniss. However, in my independent reading book, Viola, the only girl in a community that consists solely of only men, asserts her dominance over Todd, the main protagonist.
Finally, I will close my presentation by establishing a connection between the feminist in literature and feminism in America. Feminism in dystopia seems to be a big thing, but it’s also one of the few admirable things in a dystopia novel. Is that the case in the US? According to several critics, America today resembles a dystopia. What do you think?