whenwewake

All posts tagged whenwewake

The best part of reading a dystopian novel is that it’s like stepping into an alternate future for our world. Novel to novel, that future changes, one more terrifying than the other, more plausible than the other.  The direction we as a world and as a society are taking does not bode well for the coming generations. Global warming, overpopulation, pollution, and scarcity of food resources all promise a dystopia as the earth’s fate. If we do not act in time, any dystopian world built around these concepts can become our reality.

In When We Wake, 16-year-old Tegan Oglietti is an avid supporter of climate control, who gets shot at a protest, only to wake up one hundred years later in a dystopian Australia. Global warming has run rampant, sea levels are at an all-time high, the ozone layer has a gaping hole in it, so people live underground to avoid the sun’s glare, meat is expensive and rare because the cattle population had to be controlled, and human fecal matter is used as fertilizer. None of these are new concepts, this is our future unless we change the way we handle this problem. In the book, the borders and immigration rules are extremely strict, suggesting political stress between nations, possibly over this issue of global warming.

I wonder if our own society faces a future like this, where political pressure forces nations into not taking action, resulting in global warming reaching such heights. And more importantly I’m intrigued by how dystopian novels have influenced our own world. Did 1984 raise awareness to government control? Did Brave New World influence the way we think about biotechnology? Are books such as When We Wake educating the public about the dangers we face? And if yes, how? I’ve understood that literature is a reflection of our society and vice versa for a time now; however, I never considered how important dystopias could possibly be to avoiding the downfall of our world.

Works Cited

Healey, Karen. When We Wake. Auckland, N.Z., Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, 2015.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. London, Vintage Classic, 2014.

Orwell, George. 1984. Leicester, Charnwood, c1949, 1982.