freedom

All posts tagged freedom

A seemingly ongoing debate back home in Spain is the ever-lasting discussion about Catalonia’s Independence and the Catalan language. I have always thought about what it means to be Catalan and what prejudices it seems to come with. We have our own views and the rest of Spain has their own. We are a “bother” but at the same time succeeding is never an option, after all we are the greatest source of tax money for the central government. The situation back home is obviously not a dystopian setting but there is certainly a lot of information masking and how the population of Catalonia is portrayed to the rest of Spain through the main TV channels and newspapers.

I have thought about this topic since we first started talking about propaganda and compared the situation to the different novels we have discussed. It amazes me just how many similarities the situations shared. While in the dystopian governments we have encountered along the semester focus on promoting their personal image and whatever favors their power stance, this is not only a part of the fictional world. Government image and marketing is obviously very important in nowadays political world, now so more than ever maybe, since a lot of debates and issues appear to arise every other day.

I came to believe that Catalonia’s population stand against the situation definitively reminded me about the role that the “rebels” have in the novels we have discussed. In the past decade we have got to manage a referendum and the pacific demonstrations that are held every September 11th have become famous worldwide. It is amazing the amount of people that get together to support “La Diada” that day, and fill the streets of Barcelona. Every year there is a different approach to make the biggest impact and send the most powerful message. However it always revolves around the idea “we want freedom, we want our rights, we are our own people”.

Another issue that makes me think about how propaganda and the government oppress their citizens in our dystopian novels can be compared to this situation, is how many people in Spain and a scarily substantial number of the politicians of opposing groups believe that the Catalan language should be banned. This idea is so frightening to me and it would completely shatter me and my values, since practically my whole persona revolves around my language. It would be something that certainly would be a direct attack against the freedom and culture of the people back home.

Overall, I think that this whole semester has helped me learn about dystopian literature and understand many concepts much more in depth, but what I have learned didn’t necessarily stay inside the classroom in my case. These ideas have been in my mind, especially when I thought about home and the whole situation that been unfolding these past few years. It can be scary to think our reality holds parallels with fictional dystopian plots, but in the end, we all hope for the best.

In Scholes and Ostenson’s article, the two identify the components which make up dystopian literature, and why the dystopian genre has become so typical in the young adult generation. In the article, Scholes and Ostenson make their work easy to follow along by recognizing which elements frequently appear in dystopian fiction and analyzing why these methods are significant to dystopian literature. The authors also include a chart of sixteen popular dystopian novels, and the characteristics which are key to the creation of the books. For example, in the row containing Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, the authors point out that the book contains elements of “Excessive Measures to Police Safety,” “Media Manipulation and Propaganda,” “Measures to Cover Up Flaws and Lies in Society,” and “Limited or Complete Lack of Individual Freedom.” The authors then proceed to describe which elements are used in order to catch young adult readers’ attentions.

This source was incredibly useful in looking for other features which seem to be essential to the development of the young adult dystopian novel. The authors convey solid points as to why dystopian novels have become so integrated into young adults’ reading habits and how a variety of components create enthusiasm and interest in the youthful crowd. I find it intriguing that the authors are able to explore what is going on the young reader’s mind as the children become introduced to the adult world and slowly leave their childhood behind. The authors point out the settings, themes and characters which also seem to be undergoing serious changes as the dystopian plot progresses which overall draws correlations to the young reader’s situation of growing older. Scholes and Ostenson argue that dystopian stories allow the young audience to become engaged with the author’s world of romance, fighting for freedom and manipulation which occurs in the dystopian novels. By presenting the young reader with a world wrought with unethical and immoral standards, the reader is able to address these types of problems, forming their own values.

 

Scholes, Justin and Ostenson, Jon. “Understanding the Appeal of Dystopian Young Adult Fiction.” The ALAN Review, vol. 40, no. 2, 2013, https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/v40n2/scholes.html.