The Dystopian Conundrum

Novels with a Dystopian Society are all the rage now, ranging from The Giver by Lois Lowry to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and so many more from the English High School days. The core of these books include a life set in the future where the government is in charge of every facet of life, and restrictions surround the citizens. In this instance, the book we are currently reading in class, Zulus, it reminds me of these two dystopian society books that I have read in the past. For each protagonist in each of these novels, they’re lives are dictated by order of the government, and what they are to do with their lives; Jonas and his job of taking the planets memories, Katniss and needing to fight for her life for entertainment, and Alice Achitophel and her fertility in a non-fertile world.

Nowadays, you can’t read a book without it being about a dystopian society, or a corrupt government type that needs to be taken out for the Greater Good. Dystopian societies has always been contrasted with Utopian societies to figure out which one is the better. A utopia is a place where you can only dream of how wonderful it is.  A dystopia is a where the illusion of perfection is forced onto its subjects, there are different types of dystopias, but for this post, we will focus on the bureaucratic control. (Dystopia). In The Giver, the world has been ravaged by war and disease, so a small community bands together to create a world of ‘sameness’ for everyone should be equal and the same. Once a child hits their tweens, they are given an assignment of what their future job is to be. One child, who is different from the others in looks and thoughts, is given the very special job of being the keeper of the memories of the community. Since he has those memories of how society was before this regimen of ‘sameness’, and he found out how his community keeps their subjects submissive, he runs away to another place where he can be free to live as they once had. There is so much more to The Giver than this, but for this blogs sake, we will focus on Jonas and his difference from the others in his society (Giver).

For the connection to Zulus, Alice Achitophel is the last fertile person in the non-fertile world, so she is special and she knows it. Jonas is special for he looks like no one else in his community, and he is destined for the position of having the communities’ memories given to him. Of course, Alice wasn’t destined to be the last fertile person, she only had a bout of rebellious attitude and didn’t go to her sterilization and Jonas was picked. Then again, both Jonas and Alice realized it was better to go back to the life that everybody used to have before being forced into the society they live in now. Jonas left his community in the hopes that since he is not there to receive the memories of the past, that everyone will soon remember how it was, and Alice leaving the city to go to rebel country in the hopes that she will be welcomed and reveled due to her condition.

For the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is just trying to get by one day at a time, but she puts herself in danger of being killed to save the life of her younger sister, who is drafted to go into the Hunger Games, an entertainment venue for rich people to watch the poor and despot fight for their lives and kill others. Of course with every book that has to do with corrupt government, there has to be a rebellion, and Katniss is just the girl chosen to be the symbol of the rebellion, The Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen the Girl on Fire! For Katniss’ society, there is a corrupt ruler, but the cause she is fighting for is also corrupt in its own way, so really there is no true winner.

The Hunger Games connects more to Zulus for me, as Katniss has played on either side of the fence in her story. She has played the capitol’s game to try and keep the ones she loves alive, but when they pushed too far and tried to kill her again, she joined the other side. Once on the other side however, she found that the rebels leader wasn’t all sunshine and morals as she turned out to be. However, once shown Katniss quickly rectifies the situation in her own way, killing the leader and going on with the rest of her life in a meadow. Alice realizes that even though the city she came from held out no favors for her, the rebel life was not her friend either. In any instance the rebels treated her worse than in the city life, for in the city Alice had more freedom while with the rebels she was literally shoved into a tiny room and left to fend for herself. Neither the rebels or the government life are bad guys, but for Alice both options don’t emit welcoming feelings from Alice. Although there are no obvious comparisons between Katniss and Alice, their situations are somewhat similar, due to the constant danger both of them face.

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