Dystopias are complex and simple at the same time. There is one main concept: the world is bad, and someone wants to change it. Though they have this transparent side, the hidden intricacy of dystopias is what intrigues me. As I have stated in past blog posts, I want to research the duality that one person’s dystopia can be another person’s utopia based on how you were grown up, or your social standards. For example, in my independent reading, Pandemonium in the Delirium trilogy, most specifically in the first book Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Lena the protagonist thinks that her society is correct, and wants to follow the rules, until Alex comes along. First a background on the series. In this trilogy, love is considered a disease and when you turn 18 you are “cured” and your family, husband, and number of kids is decided for you. You aren’t allowed to show affection towards anyone. So back to Lena, and all of the authorities, their society is considered perfectly correct and is helping people because love is considered a disease. On the other hand, Alex, the “Deliria Free America”, and the people of the wilds believe their society is unfair and should be changed; love can be a good thing.
My question regarding this duality is simple: why is there such a strong duality. I’m not saying that a dystopia evolves from a utopia, but I wonder how people can believe that something is correct based on their social standards or expectations and there are only few who either state their disagreement (usually the protagonist) or try to change the situation to be fair. The oblivion in some characters in the society surprises me. They believe that nothing is wrong, and that life is the way it should be. How can people have such different beliefs? Is it all for a good story? Is this prevalent in our society today and some people aren’t just speaking up? It intrigues me that such an opinion divide is present in so many young adult dystopian novels.
Oliver, Lauren. Delirium: Delirium Trilogy. HarperCollins. 1 Jan 2011.
Oliver, Lauren. Pandemonium: Delirium Trilogy. HarperTeen. 28 Feb 2012.