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