In The Shadows

DystopIa: a society where social interactions are based on the concept of fear,power, oppression, and overarching darkness. 

 In the United States middle school students are introduced into the world of Dystopias. We mostly read fictional pieces that demonstrate a dark setting and main characters that work to free their people from governmental control. Some arguably popular examples are Hunger games and Divergent, both of which shared a plot of a warrior woman working to uncover and dismantle the secrets of their leaders (government). In my experience when describing dystopias, grade school teachers always use the words chaos, disorder, and darkness. So, defining Dystopia as a society based on the concept of fear, power, and oppression is a combination of middle school teachings and the books that represented the genre. The first word that comes to mind when picturing a dystopia is “darkness”. 

Dystopia is an interesting concept to define because there are many ways it can look. Some people only think of a military state or a post apocalyptic scenario, but it can be more subtle than this. Dystopia is defined by the underlying chaos and the darkness that eludes. In the real world Dystopia can mean riots, abuse of power from cops, or unstable leaders. Many people associate Dystopia with negative connotations and badness. So, while there are various different images that enter their mind for illustrating the realm of Dystopia, there is a united theme of prevailing or battling a society that is contaminated with bad acts. These bad acts or darkness can only occur through social interactions which includes people vs the government, or true-believers vs the skeptical. These conflicts show the resistance within a faulty system and the power dynamic within a totalitarian. Referring back to the early example of Divergent , the main character, Tris realized she was not like the rest and would not pass the test to survive. However, people like her and her willingness to prevail helped her to fight the faction leaders (government) and free people from a system that limited citizens’ opportunities and personal autonomy.  These mainstream books and other forms of entertainment help to formulate the idea that Dystopia is a reality of darkness and a conflict based on fear and the abuse of power.

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