The Selection

All posts tagged The Selection

How have divisions in society transformed over time? The answer is complex and the following book is an essential research in being able to compare contemporary society to dystopian society. This book, Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present, is an excellent resource in addressing the complexity of social theory today. In my research, I focused on Chapter 3, entitled Post-feminism, which defines the post-feminist theory and how it differs immensely from previous feminist thought and theories. Post-feminism is defined as the notion of women having power, but not losing their “femininity”, which stems from the idea feminists lose femininity. In literature, as in dystopias, this provides “a critique of previous assumptions of the self, the social, the political, history, the text, knowledge, and ‘the West’”(Browning, 65). I found this theory and source especially useful and interesting in investigating feminist elements in recent dystopian literature.

This chapter uses concrete examples of post-feminist theory in literature and in television. One key piece used in supporting their claim is that of the series Star Trek: Voyager, which is set in the twenty-fourth century and explores the role of a post-feminist woman as starship captain. Tough leadership and courage characterize protagonist Janeway, though she doesn’t lose her “femininity” in this role, highlighting the post-feminist depiction of this character.

This chapter is a useful tool in identifying the social context in recent years of feminism, and its portrayal in literature. In my project, I am using this to argue the content and focus of women’s roles and depiction in this post-feminism period. Novels like my independent reading book The Selection, feature strong independent female leads, who are still able to embrace their femininity and stand up for female power and fight oppression, while not losing this aspect of themselves, a key factor in the post-feminist period.

A simplistic view of how different groups in society have privilege based on certain criteria.

Another useful chapter in this book include Chapter 33, entitled Social inequalities: coming to terms with complexity. This section argues that social divisions such as “class, gender, ethnicity, race, age, religion, and sexual orientation [are] intertwined to produce multifaceted and intricate forms of social hierarchy”(Browning, 478). This section would be useful for anyone curious about the divisions and inequalities within a society and comparing that to their independent reading novel or other dystopian societies.

Works Cited:

Browning, Gary K., Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present. London, Sage, 2000.

Dystopian literature is a pivotal tool in critiquing current society and providing us examples, although some more extreme than others, of what could happen if we don’t change or improve our current society’s flaws. With this idea in mind, dystopian novels often try to create realistic worlds in which we can clearly see parallels between the society depicted and our own.  Therefore, the political and social climate the novel was written plays a key role in how these divisions of race, class, and gender are represented in dystopias. For my conference and research paper, I will be using my novel The Selection and other dystopian novels written throughout recent history to analyze the difference between female and male depiction in dystopian literature and how situations in society at the time they were written impacted this representation.

Women have been struggling to gain equality in our society for much of the past two hundred years. Through historical periods such as the suffrage movement or women’s liberation movement, men and women have been given more equal roles in society, yet today divisions still exist. As dystopian novels often critique the flaws of our society, when our society refuses to recognize the genders as equal, these novels provide examples of the downfalls of this lack of recognition, or the benefits when one challenges the recognition.

More recently, though men and women are more equal than ever, there still exists gaps in equality between the genders. Currently, difference in wage, political representation, and statistics in employment reinforce the gaps that exist in gender. Stereotypes and social norms still influence society’s thought and perception of the two genders and therefore the fight more recently has been toward changing the social climate of our society and the views of the genders.

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/PayGap2.png

My independent reading book, published recently in 2012, The Selection, the strong, feminist lead America challenges stereotypes given by her society, where men are the providers and women are valued moreover for beauty than intelligence. The Selection emulates The Bachelor, where one man chooses from a pool of many women. The Selection seems to be a criticism of such shows like The Bachelor that objectify women.

Dystopian literature allows us to reflect on the current state our society and provides a warning of how portions of our society could worsen. In order to truly understanding the gender systems in dystopias, we must analyze the society at the time By doing so, we can deduce the root of the depiction of gender in the novel and how the dystopia seeks to address or overcome the flaw in gender divisions plaguing society.

Works Cited

Cass, Kiera. The Selection. New York, HarperTeen, 2012.

Personally, I disagree with everything that Donald Trump has done, and it sparked my interest in wanting to know how he was the person chosen to win the election. Once I started looking at statistics that came out when he was elected in November, I started realizing that there was more to the whole picture than one candidate losing the popular vote. As I started looking into the creation of the United States government, I realized that there were many aspects of its creation that could be considered striving for perfection. This is when I realized that one could say that the United States was created to be a utopia and eventually failed to be one

This realization that the United States is a failed utopia is the focus of my research paper. I am going to present about how there are phrases in the Declaration of Independence that reveal that the founders of the United States were seeking perfection. Another point in my presentation is about how the United States is now labeled as a flawed democracy. This has been the result of citizens no longer trusting their representatives. Below is the link to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Website as well as a link to a NBC article that talks about why the United States is now considered a flawed democracy. The EIU gives countries a score based on factors such as if their government has free elections, the political culture, and political participation. Since the United States has been lacking in some of these countries, they are no longer considered a full democracy.

Another aspect of my presentation is comparing the United States to my novel The Selection by Kiera Cass. The Selection is set in the future United States where a democracy no longer exists. I thought this was interesting because the book is predicting that the current government is flawed and will crumble in the future. The possibility of the United States government not surviving is what I would say is one of the key elements of why it can be considered a dystopia. A crumbling government is key to a dystopia because it allows for someone to come in and change the society that he or she is living in. The possibility that the United States will go through a government change is one of the key elements in my research paper.

http://country.eiu.com/united-states

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/25/us-is-no-longer-a-full-democracy-eiu-warns.html

 

Dystopias often provide a critique of our own society and it interests me what this critique is and what we, as a society, can learn from it. Obviously, our society is far from perfection and it seems the only way to make any sort of progress is to identify and examine our society’s flaws. Dystopias in general seem to propagate the idea that we must cooperate and collaborate with each other to prevent the extremities of such corrupt societies from taking shape.

My independent reading book, The Selection, follows 35 girls who compete for the love, or rather wealth, of the prince, in a series of highly-controlled, televised updates. The quest of the women is televised, and provides yet another instance of propaganda in which what is being shown is not at all like reality of the situation, but rather what those in power wish the population to believe. This contest has obvious parallels to reality TV shows popular in today’s society like The Bachelor, a highly scripted, unauthentic reality love show. The Hunger Games also provides a similar critique as the games are televised and controlled by the Capitol, similar to how reality TV today is controlled by producers and writers. In The Selection, The Hunger Games, or even in today’s society, television is not the only thing controlled, but rather its control suggests that if something so seemingly insignificant as television can be used to manipulate the population and propagate the ideas of those in power, it evokes the question of what else can they be in control of?

This displays the 8 main castes in The Selection and how members of the society’s roles are split.

Though I am not a huge fan of the dystopian world set up in The Selection, an important thing it does is show the flaws in of societal structure and the division of classes. In The Selection we are introduced to a world of different castes, from 1, the royal/extremely wealthy class, to 8, the homeless, poverty-stricken. The divisions are so strict, people deemed a certain caste can only work certain jobs and hold specific roles in the society. The lower caste you are, the more likely you will not be able to feed yourself or your family. A higher equates to more wealth and therefore a greater possibility of survival. Corruption like this is often central in dystopian societies, whether at fault of the government or from utter lack of one. This corruption affects the shapes a dystopian society takes. In The Selection your worth is considered as high as your caste and it accentuates the idea there are only eight type of people in the society.

With that being said, I wonder how the class systems in novels like The Selection or The Hunger Games are affected by the dystopian societies they are part of. Do the circumstances that drove the dystopia’s creation play any role in the class system that thereafter developed? Do the class systems today in our society share any commonalities with those of such dystopias? I look to research questions much like these to better understand the classes in our own society.

One of the things that interest me the most about dystopias is that they subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) critique the United States. In Little Brother, the constant surveillance creates an image of the future United States where people are always being watched and tracked to keep civil order. Constant surveillance is not a farfetched idea because even today the government can track our every move. This capability is creating paranoia among many people. Little Brother makes the reader think about our current state of surveillance and how our country is one tragedy away from constantly being surveilled.

In The Selection, the book critiques multiple facts about today’s American society. The most obvious criticism in the book is about the popularity of the TV show The Bachelor. The whole series is based around a prince having to pick between 35 girls to find his future wife. There are many scenes throughout the book where girls turn on each other and attack one another verbally, and even physically, to fight for Prince Maxon’s affection. Throughout The Bachelor, there are often moments where the girls do the same thing. By drawing on this plotline, the author created a book that appeals to our society as well as a book that makes readers rethink their enjoyment for the TV show. Another criticism in The Selection is about the stability of the United States government. The Selection takes place after multiple future World Wars which has caused the United States government to become a monarchy. Returning to the government structure that the founding fathers condemned is a criticism because it leads the reader to believe that the United States could be on the path to failure. This criticism of the United States is what I want to focus on for my research paper. Many recent events have led people to organize nationwide protests against actions that have been taken to “protect” them. Although it is unlikely, recent events could be the gateway to the failure of the United States government.

Below are some links that are going to be useful in my research paper. This includes a website about Thomas Jefferson’s ideas and how he believed in creating a perfect United States. There is also a newspaper article about how the United States government is now considered a flawed democracy. These resources are going to be useful in writing my research paper about the way the United States was created to be a utopian society, but in reality is a dystopia.

http://www.businessinsider.com/economist-intelligence-unit-downgrades-united-states-to-flawed-democracy-2017-1http://www.ushistory.org/us/20b.asp

Cass, Kiera. The Selection. HarperTeen, 2012.

The Bachelor. Produced by Mike Fleiss and Lisa Levenson, written by J. Holland Moore and Mike Fleiss, American Broadcasting Company, 25 Mar. 2002.

Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2008.