Welcome back to my discussion feature, Freadom Speaks!
This is a topic that I’ve wanted to talk about since my Dystopian month last year because it was inspired or thought up of the books that I read that month. I didn’t really get a chance to discuss it while doing Booktube so I wanted to bring it back and try to share my thoughts as clearly as possible.
SO let’s get started!
When the wave of YA dystopia descended in the book community, I missed it. In 2012, I moved back to Venezuela and it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that I got an iPod touch, downloaded the Kindle app and had access to ebooks and began reading again. So a lot of the popular dystopian books, series and trilogies that began those first few years were lost to me.
So I decided to see what all the fuss was about during April of 2015 and I read some of the most popular dystopian trilogies. And while there were some hits and misses, and I enjoyed being able to check those books off my TBR, I began to notice some things about these books that honestly scared me a bit.
Dystopia is characterized as literature that explores social and political structures and it is meant to create a nightmare world. While it’s exciting to read as well as it being entertaining, I think it’s important to look farther into the story and see its warnings about society, so that’s what I’m going to be doing.
I’m going to be highlighting three YA dystopian series that could have a greater impact on the way we see our world and on how to change it.
First and foremost, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Arguably the most popular dystopian trilogy by far and also one of the most sadistic and violent ones in YA. Did anyone else get reminded of the Gladiator fights while reading this book? Or of boxing? Because I hope it wasn’t just me. As I read, I couldn’t help but correlate the Hunger Games to the way Gladiators used to fight in the Colosseum in the Roman Empire. Or even now in modern times, how boxing is televised. For some strange reason, humans like to see people beat each other up for entertainment. I’m not one of those people and I don’t really understand the draw of something like that but history shows us that people enjoy it. While I pray that the United States doesn’t suddenly extinguish and becomes Panem, there is a real possibilty that in the future this type of tactic is used against an oppressed people (though let’s be honest, Donal Trump is up for president and he’d think the Games would be a good idea). It’s a very easy and convenient way to control and manipulate a population. And that’s something that needs to be thought about.
Then we have the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Now while this series is focused more on the romance than the world building, there is a serious issue being addressed in this world. Global warming is real you guys, and it is happening right now as I type and as you read. My mom always makes it a point to mention that this Earth is all we have when she advocates for recycling and green living, and she’s totally right. At the moment, we can’t just pack up all the people in the world and move to another planet when this one is on its last breath and say good riddance. Our survival depends on the Earth being a stable environment for us to live in and the world that Mafi presents in this trilogy is actually quite horrifying in my opinion. No birds, no animals, no water, no nothing to help us with our own sustainability. And at the rate we’re going, things could become really sparse really quickly and then where would we be?
And finally, last but not least, the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. Whether or not you live in the United States or not, there’s two things that are easily figured out about that country: we love to shop and we love the military. And the world that this book presents is a divide between those two pillars in American society. On one side, you have a section completely overrun with capitalism. Everything from your place in society or where you work and your value as a citizen is determined by a company. I don’t know about you but that seriously freaks me out but so does option number two. A society dominated by a military structure and your worth is dependent on the way you can help or hinder the overall establish. And oh yeah, how well you can take a test. Like with the Hunger Games, I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen, but it can’t be ignored as not a possible future. These are two dominating parts of American society and it could potential be something that tears the country apart.
So that’s it for this discussion! I really hope I’m not alone when I look deeper into books, specially these kinds so let me know if you’ve ever thought about something like this while reading. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!