Red Queen

All posts tagged Red Queen

Imagine a world without technology. What do you think might happen? A global search engine vanishing. Communication systems shut down. Transportation stagnating as communities become isolated. Access to food, water, friends, and information: all restricted and unobtainable. It is quite hard to conceptualize, as our generation relies heavily on technology for much in our everyday lives. But in dystopian societies, people live this challenge constantly. The fearful majority usually have no access to what we would refer to as modern innovations. Contrasting this is the powerful few who hold advanced technology easily in the palm of their hand. This difference in technological prowess is a defining aspect of what makes a society a dystopia. In my conference presentation, The Tyranny of Technology, I will explain how this disparity is evident through acclaimed YA dystopian novels like The Hunger Games and Red Queen.

Dystopian societies are notoriously protective about the media. The ways in which the elite communicate among each other and with the public is a careful process. The message they send out always has an undercurrent of strength and brutality while emphasizing peace and prosperity on the surface. But it is also broadcast in public avenues in a complex technological way. The Hunger Games gathers many people in rundown streets to watch a game of horror on a big, high definition screen or on advanced projectors. Meanwhile, there is only one citizen in the entire district who even has access to a phone. Similarly, the inhabitants in Red Queen have barely working generators that fail to keep the lights on half of the time while the elite rulers have all manners of communication to spread their tyranny over the land. This allows them to broadcast propaganda and gather information at a much faster rate than any sort of rebellion. In turn, this vicious cycle allows the government to amass a large amount of power and influence.

The big turn that allows the resistance to start winning battles begins when the playing field of technology is leveled. Other sectors that this may occur in can include militarization, transportation, and engineering. Popular YA dystopian novels introduce a new factor in one of these areas to compensate for the offset in influence. When District 13 comes into play, Katniss now has the weapons and resources at her disposal to launch propaganda campaigns and begin her attack on the Capitol. When Mare obtains her lightning ability, she, a commoner turned royal, is then able to promote a strong symbol of freedom and power back at the government. It is important to recognize the power technology can bring to the table, whether in our world or in books. For if a gap starts to form between us and the government, who knows what kind of imaginary technological dystopia might eventually become a reality.

Works Cited

  1. Henderson, Greg. “Futurespect: Utopia vs Dystopia – 10 Depictions Of The Future.” Rootnotion, 22 Aug. 2014, http://rootnotion.co.uk/utopia-vs-dystopia-10-depictions-future/.

For my conference presentation on Monday, March 13th, I will be giving an overview of my research paper The Fortitude of Selflessness in Undermining Propaganda in Dystopian Societies, and highlighting a few of the main and most compelling arguments within it. I will argue that in dystopian societies, there is a reoccurring theme that those who are in power (the upper-class, the government, etc.) will create a façade to hide their imperfect lives behind and control the masses through propaganda in the form of social entrenchment, oppression, and fear. I will further argue that this method of control is adept at pitting the citizenry against themselves, but is structured on the assumption that they will act in their own self interests. Cracks in the façade begin to form and propaganda begins to lose its grip when a selfless hero emerges and is thrown into the midst of the ruling class and is put in the spotlight for the nation to see. It is through the hero’s selflessness and refusal to be used as the government’s pawn, that allows him/her to rouse a rebellion and begin to bring down the government.

My paper uses Red Queen and The Hunger Games as contextual evidence. Since Red Queen is a recently published novel, little scholarly writing on it has been published. Consequentially, I will present my argument through the lens of The Hunger Games and show how Red Queen exhibits strong correlation.

I will first address the methods of propaganda and control the Capital uses in the districts; in “I Was Watching You Mockingjay”, Sean Connors presents a compelling argument that the Capital maintains internal class divisions in the districts in order to pit the citizenry against themselves and not the Capitol. Secondly I will present the selflessness Katniss exhibits throughout The Hunger Games. Finally, I will analyze how serving Rue and caring for her, as well as Katniss putting Peeta’s interests before her own, highlight her refusal to be used by the Capital, and are the actions that defeated the Capitol’s propaganda and began to unite the districts. As a result, the Capitol had to increase its use of violence to maintain order, and eventually declare war in an attempt to suppress the rebellion.

If my thesis sounds compelling and, and you want to know how Red Queen supports my thesis and strongly correlates to The Hunger Games, you will have to read my paper and listen to my conference presentation to find out. Feel free to be actively engaged and ask questions after I present and/or tweet me with any material you have questions about, or think I should address in my paper.

Sources:

Davidson, James. A question from the audience. Business 2 Community, 31 July 2012,www.business2community.com/strategy/pulling-off-the-perfect-conference-presentation-0237     170#ja8odJQiywP6Fpj1.97. Accessed 4 Mar.2017.

Dystopias have a very close relationship with technology. Their synergy arises on two fronts. The first relies on complete control by a sophisticated and advanced government. Maintaining a fearful atmosphere is a key factor in keeping such technology from the public. It is also a deciding factor in shutting down revolts from the masses. In Red Queen, the elite ruling class (Silvers) subjected many to the horrible conditions of a working town. In these poverty stricken locations, regular people (Reds) are forced to work from dawn to dusk to make governmental devices. These gadgets would then never again touch citizen hands, but were used exclusively at the behest of the rulers. Reds walked cobblestone paths in villages of wood while Silvers flew airplanes from one glass city to the next. When the revolution began, the government held a distinct advantage over the freedom fighters when it came to weapons, transportation, and communication. This disparity made it very troublesome for the resistance to win its battles. But what if the two sides spar on an even playing field?

This is where a more post-apocalyptic view can be explored. The other relationship preys on the anarchy that rises up from the ashes of disaster. In a society that has been torn apart, there is a new standard on technology. It is still coveted by the strong, but the capabilities of the leftover devices are severely limited. Machines that remain operate at a much lower degree, and those who know how to use them are difficult to find. A single stroke of luck could bring power to a group if such a piece from the past is found. This contrasts with the value placed upon these rare items. Even though beforehand had much better technology, it was not as precious as the little machines that remain in a broken world. As The 100 reveals, something like a simple radio can create many different problems when it is desired by different people. But since no one actually has a superior advantage in technology, the few have an easier chance in gaining power than before.

What interests me most about this topic involves how technology is employed by both sides in a dystopia. Dystopian subjects utilize advanced machines or the leftovers from days long past to a devastating effect in their respective time periods. I am curious as to how the rulers of a dystopia control the masses by limiting their access to technology and advancement. Our society is ever changing, evolving with new forms of thought and innovation. Indeed, one of the fastest growing sectors of our lives involves technology. So what happens when the pace of machine creation stagnates? Or on the other hand, what happens when it advances at a speed outside our control? We will only know what the future holds with time. But whether a dystopia arises with a controlling machine monopoly or from some artificial intelligence that enslaves us all, it is only certain that technology will achieve new heights in the years to come.

Works Cited-

Kathleen, Laura. “Utopia & Dystopia.” Science & Technology, 18 March 2014, https://prepareyourselfenglish.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/utopia-2/.

The themes of my independent reading book, Red Queen, are centralized around the idea of how the ruling class maintains their power and control over the lower class in their (dystopian) society. There is a strong correlation to The Hunger Games in how the Capital maintains control over the twelve districts. In Red Queen, the Silvers continually “show off” their power to the Reds to remind them who has the “right to rule” and the power to do so. Ubiquitous propaganda in the forms of lies and deceit, as well as forced conscription reinforce the façade that the Silvers are perfect and have everything in order. In a similar fashion, the Capital’s propaganda throughout the districts in Panem, emphasized by the Peacekeepers, spies, and the Hunger Games, reinforce the Capital’s power and right to rule, as well as the false truth that Panem is thriving (this is especially prominent in the events after Katniss and Peeta win the Hunger Games).

In both societies, a hero with the potential to topple the established order emerges from the lowest class and is put in a spotlight before the ruling class. For Mare, this happens during the Queenstrial when she discovers her abilities in front of the royal Silver families; for Katniss, this occurs when she volunteers as tribute for Prim, and finds herself as the District 12 tribute for the 74th Hunger Games and lands before the eyes of the Capital and the nation of Panem.

The element that really interests me, and is what I will be discussing in my research paper, is finding that moment, exemplified in Red Queen and The Hunger Games, where propaganda in dystopian societies begins to fail and how the established order crumples under the actions of the hero (i.e. Katniss and Mare). From the research I have conducted and will continue to do, I have noticed that the ability of both governments, in The Hunger Games and Red Queen, to control the masses by propaganda and fear, hinges on the assumption that citizens will look out and act in their own interests, not others’. Propaganda begins to lose its grip when a selfless leader who refuses to be used as a pawn and controlled by the government emerges and will continually look to the interests of others before him or herself. Both literary leaders, Mare and Katniss, come from the lower class, break the law to provide some form of support for their family, and also have anger directed toward the ruling class. It is their selflessness that enables them to subvert the established order while among their midst and seemingly being used as the government’s “pawn”.

            I will then conclude my paper by arguing what these themes translate to as a message to young adult readers. So far my research points me in the direction that these themes underscore the belief to kids that they can make a difference in the world they are living in. If there is something in society they do not agree with, or do not want to be a part of, they can make a difference. Not by having special abilities (like Mare and Katniss), but by being selfless. By not giving into power and pressure, but by looking out for others and making an impact that way.

 

Sources:

“Katniss Buries Rue with Flowers.” bitchmedia, Bitch Media, 10 Mar. 2014, bitchmedia.org/post/may-the-box-office-be-ever-in-your-favor-how-divergent-and-thehunger-games-and-divergent-avoid-.Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

 


	

In the novel the Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard, there are two classes that coexist in a modernized world. One rules with wizardry and fear, with silver blood that makes them special. The other, much greater in size, consists of normal citizens with red blood running through their veins. But, as in a typical dystopia, numbers mean nothing against such a strong totalitarian government. The superior power of the Silver elite allows for control of all technology, including the media. Television and news channels repeat the glory and fortunes of the empire while simultaneously crushing the hopes of millions of Reds that live in poverty.

With all this tension comes the rise of the Scarlet Guard, a group of rebel fighters tasked with taking down the existing rulers. Their path towards freedom is an arduous journey, but the group had gained momentum in recent times. They spread the seeds of rebellion in a quiet way. Eventually, there came a day when one girl, born of red blood, had powers that rivaled the strongest Silver. Mare Barrow’s ordinary, albeit horrible and suppressed, life is flipped upside down when she revealed her ability to control lightning. Captured by the government and subjected to unique torture, she was forced to become a pawn in the government’s plan to take down the Scarlet Guard.

Mare became the keystone piece for the totalitarian Silvers in order to discredit the Red opposition. She was at the forefront of every news update, discrediting the rebels at every turn. She gave speeches on the prosperous state of the empire. She marveled at the generosity and benevolence of every Silver in the palace. But while all this was going on, Mare was being used. The relationship between her and her captors was based on cruelty and deceit. She despised all the Silvers, and was forced to speak against her beliefs else her family suffer a horrible fate. Everything she said was a lie, fed to her by the ruthless rulers of the country.

The Silver government went through an enormous amount of effort in order to influence the public. They relieved Mare’s family from duty in a war, reworked her entire identity, and lied to both Silvers and Reds alike in order to create an image for the poverty stricken citizens to believe in. Keeping the masses complacent on the eve of a rebellion relied heavily on the actions of the media to promote a message of supposed peace throughout the empire. In turn, this would ease anger and tensions, uniting the plentiful poor in another cycle of false hope. The media acts in such a way that it shoves a message of prosperity down the throats of all who view it. Despite the fact that the benefits are only gained by a select few, the propaganda clouds the better judgement of those watching. And it is devastatingly successful when applied correctly. But, as Mare reveals, utilizing the media for your own devices can also spread a message that can incite a revolution.

Works Cited-

1. Aveyard, Victoria. Red queen. HarperTeen, 2015.

2. “Cover Reveal: King’s Cage By Victoria Aveyard.” Reads and Reels, 15 Nov. 2016, readsandreels.com/2016/11/.

3. Brittdraws. “Mare Barrow.” DeviantArt, 15 July 2015, brittdraws.deviantart.com/art/Mare-Barrow-546512899.

In dystopian societies, those who control the power will go to all extremes to make sure societal entrenchment, oppression, and fear remain true. In Red Queen, the perception of the strength and power of the ruling class is the foundation of how they maintain their wealth and opulence. In Mare’s (the narrator) world, there are two kinds of people: Silvers and Reds.

Since she was born, Mare had been indoctrinated in every aspect of life to believe that Silvers, the ruling class, are inherently better than the impoverished Reds. Their silver blood gives Silvers supernatural abilities and thus the “right” to rule over the normal and crimson blooded Reds. The perception of the Silvers’ strength and power is all that is needed to suppress Red crimes and uprisings against Silver rule and the royal crown.

The largest building in every Red village is a massive area. On the first Friday of every month, all Reds are required to attend a series of showcased fights. The “Feats” are battles between Silvers – not for Red entertainment, but to send a message, and to show off the strength and power of Silvers. Mare tells the reader, “Only Silvers can fight in the arenas because only a Silver can survive the arena. They fight to show us their strength and power. You are no match for us. We are your betters. We are gods” (Aveyard 6). The Feats are a way to intimidate the Reds, to repeatedly show and tell them that rebellion against the crown will not be tolerated, and will not stand a chance. Unlike Reds, Silvers have abilities and they fight and train for sport. The Silvers do it for a good reason too, it has been repeatedly shown that arena cities have recorded a reduction in Red crimes, rebellions, and unrest (Aveyard 7).

Through a series of unlikely events, Mare is thrown into the middle of the royal family’s court politics where she quickly learns that everything she’s known about the Silvers is not true. There is a social hierarchy among silvers and the royal families, and those on top will do anything to maintain the image that they are powerful and better than the rest. In their world, perception is reality and “to look powerful is to be powerful” (Aveyard 97). Mare learns that hard way, that “the truth doesn’t matter. It only matters what people believe” (Aveyard 342). And this is the inherent problem with all dystopias and widespread propaganda. If the lower classes actually knew that their perception was actually false, that the ruling class did not have it all together, that there was no need to fear, then rebellion and dissent would be rampant.

Propaganda is an adept tactic for feeding lies to the masses and reinforcing false truths, but the problem with building your society on lies and deceit is the same as building your house on the sand. All it takes is for a storm to come, and one wave to knock the foundation right out from under you. In the Silvers’ perfect world of opulence and rule over the inferior Reds, that wave is Mare Barrow – the Red girl with crimson blood and Silver abilities.

 

Sources:

Aveyard, Victoria. Red Queen. New York, HarperCollins.

“Red Queen — Silvers Have Nothing to Fear from Us Reds.” Pinterst, s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/fa/a7/05faa776d2add665e85f41bf53d8de2e.jpg.