All posts tagged millennials

Brown, Michael. “Why are the Millennials Protesting?”. Townhall. March 10, 2017.

Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. Tom Doherty Associates, 2008.

Wallace, Kelly. “Is ‘fake news’ fooling kids? New report says yes”. CNN. April 3, 2017.

I saw this research paper as the perfect opportunity to communicate an issue that I think has been plaguing society. Since the rise of modern technology there has been a lack of importance placed on literature. The presence of a generation that remains more updated than ever, through social media, puts pressure on authors (and artists, etc.) to produce content more quickly. I hypothesize that this pressure results in authors falling back on “cheap” ways to get readers, instead of focusing on the “moral” aspect of the story.

Even though teens today have plenty of other things to influence and educate them, such as twitter, video games, and various new channels, YA literature remains one of the most useful tools for challenging the mind of the youth. Quickly produced and ill-thought out books might still achieve the goal of entertaining the reader, however these novels should be fully utilized by leaving the reader with questions or conclusions about life and society. This is especially true for dystopian novels, as they are the most effective in jump-starting a reader into action, often through fear.

However, this is not the fault of the ever-blamed millennials. Studies show that millennials are the most motivated generation, they have a higher “sense of purpose” than other generations, and are the largest advocates for social change. So why is there a gap between the desires of this young generation and the content produced for them? This is one of many questions my paper aims to answer.

My inspiration for this paper came out of researching some of my favorite novels, such as Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, and The Hunger Games, which are so morbid and abstract that I wondered how where the authors got their inspiration. I did some digging, and uncovered that almost every dystopian novel author came up with their idea because of a social injustice they wished to change.

My independent reading book, Uglies fits between the modern YA dystopia mold, and the “meaningful” dystopias. Uglies features a 16 year old girl as the main character with several love interests. The novel (arguably) is a part of a trilogy, is written in simple language, and was considered for a movie. These are components of a basic, money-making dystopia. However, it certainly left me wondering about the importance I place on my appearance. The author, Scott Westerfeld, explained “that his point in writing the book was not to make a big commentary on the issues with beauty, but to make people aware of the culture of retouching that is developing in the world and to be aware of our own ideas about beauty and our need to think for ourselves”.

Uglies should be a model to YA authors around the world. Dystopian novels can play into cliches, and get readers, while still having meaning.

Authors and Society: stop measuring the success of a novel by how much money the movie adaption made, and instead by the number of lives it impacted.

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.