All posts tagged #germtheory

My upcoming paper is about how non-normative behavior occurs in popular sources of YA literature. This is shown by people acting irrationally in the never ending high pressure situations, how they act selfish and uncivilized in such situations. Also, even though they act this way, deep down they show signs of normative morals deep behind all the chaos.

In dystopian societies, the citizens who are subjugated to harsh conditions are put in a position where they have to struggle to survive or are just oppressed, certain immoral qualities appear in humans. This is seen in the 100 when a little girl interprets Bellamy’s advice to slay her demons as him telling her to kill Wells. In a normal situation, one would not go to such lengths to make themselves feel better. Especially when in a structured society, such act would be punished hardly by law, but in such a chaotic society structure the little girl thought murdering another person was completely justifiable even when he didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.

With such idea in mind, my paper will also discuss the topic of germ theory. Germ theory states how disease is caused my microorganisms pervading around. Then Harris relates germ theory to dystopia by stating “pathogens” live in the human mind that are constantly controlled by the government. Without this structure, it causes these “pathogens” to “spread” causing disorderly conduct by citizens which result in a ruined society. So basically, in an ordered society there is a structured body that regulates how society functions like in the arc in the 100. Without such structure, such as on earth, people act in irrational ways. The ways governments control or cure such diseases is through the use of control and in extreme cases of dystopias governments tend to use methods that strip away the individuality and freedom of its citizens for the “good of the people.”

This pattern is illustrated in a numerous amount of sources, which I will go into detail about in my paper. To learn more about germ theory and how it applies to a numerous amount of YA literature work or to learn about the commonalities of non-normative behavior in such sources, be excited for my paper on “The Non-Normative Behavior in Dystopian Literature.”

Works Cited

Harris, Clea D. “The Germ Theory of Dystopias: Fears of Human Nature in 1984 and Brave New World.” Scripps Senior Theses, Claremont Colleges, 2015, http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1652&context=scripps_theses.


What interests me the most about dystopias is how the new treacherous environment alters the how people behave and whether it just illustrates human nature or evolves the people into what they must become to survive. Over the course of the class this year, we have studied many dystopias. A common observation I try to make is how the people put in these situations react to their new place in society and if it alters who they are as a person.

When doing research, I came across one theory called germ theory. Harris describes this theory as how “…microorganisms pervade the world; these invisible and omnipresent germs cause specific diseases which are often life threatening.” When relating such term to dystopias, Harris explains how these “‘pathogens’ that furtively exist within the human mind. These pseudo-germs are various human tendencies that, when left ‘untreated’ by governments, create non-normative members of society.” This theory illustrates how varying behavior emerges due to the unregulation of people by a stable government. This can be seen in The 100 when all the people sent to the ground act almost savage like is some situations which lead to upright chaos. This caused a little girl to kill a teenager and for members of that society to want to kill a little girl. All very crazy.

Furthermore, it interests me how people react with each other in such situations. It seems to me that in such perilous situations, the people end up acting very hostile and irrational. In my independent reading selection, The People of Sparks, the people of the two societies end up almost destroying the city of sparks based on internal arguments when the people start to worry about their own safety. Does this mean that when times get rough, it brings out the selfishness in people causes them to be willing to sacrifice lives in order to last a little longer? Is this basic human nature or an evolution or “pathogen” that emerges because of such unregulation? Hopefully I will soon be able to answer these questions and more.

DuPrau, Jeanne. The People of Sparks. Yearling, 2005.

“Earth Kills.” The 100, The CW, Apr. 2 2014. Television.

Harris, Clea D. The Germ Theory of Dystopias: Fears of Human Nature in 1984 and Brave New                            World. Scripps Senior Theses, Claremont Colleges