specials

Glutton for Punishment: Dystopia Edition

Dystopian novels have held a special interest to me for longer than I can remember, and I have never been quite sure why that is so. Perhaps “dystopian” is simply a writing style or theme type in which I feel that I can be thoroughly absorbed in the story, simultaneously afraid and excited for the pages to run out and the story to end. Perhaps, “dystopian” is intriguing in its revolving nature, constantly shifting from dystopia to utopia. Or perhaps, I crave the day that the worlds of the pages may become the worlds of reality. Some might say that I am simply a glutton for punishment, craving change and revolution.
Regardless of the nature of their attraction, I do know that part of the dystopian appeal lies in my ability to imagine myself in each of the situations described by the author of each novel. As a pre-teen reading Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras by Scott Westerfeld, I could see myself in Tally’s place, battling the internal war of choice between accepting reality and fighting for a better circumstance. As a teenager reading The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, I felt the terror and determination of Katniss as she was faced with a supposedly insurmountable challenge that, in spite of the circumstances, she was still determined to overcome. As a young adult reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, Tris brought me along as she discovered her inner strength and battled with being so profoundly different yet simultaneously similar to those around her. Each of these books and the worlds’ they contained consumed me and changed the way I look at the world I live in now.
As I listened to lecture upon lecture in my college classes today and took down countless pages of notes, I emailed back and forth with a close friend (call him CL) about more topics than I could count. Yet, I know that among them, were the relevance of revolution, views on characteristic and systematic division of society, and the difference between modern skills and those of the past. More than once, I found myself referencing book after book, appealing to CL’s naturally inquisitive nature to explain why these books made such an impact on my views. Although CL responded in kind, discussing with me for many hours, I feel as though I am still drowning under the weight of words and phrases and ideas that I did not explain quite well enough. I am drowning in the worlds’ of the books that have changed me so greatly.
Dystopian novels have made my awareness grow, and through each storyline carefully written and equally as carefully read, I have learned the ebbing of the tide of revolution. The drowning notion I claimed so easily as the weight of words unshared is more than I at first suspected; the revolutionary tide is only rising in the current world climate, the ebbing is rare. I mentioned it before, but I will admit to it now: I am a glutton for punishment. I am a risk taker and a theory maker. I want a war to fight and a cause to truly live for. I need a revolution. And one is coming.
I have experienced great things through characters and through life events. I am a puzzle of personality pieces.  This world we live in now is not so different from the worlds I have been introduced to through pages of ink and paper. Revolution is coming and I feel it in each of my puzzle pieces, quivering with the power of being so many things. Smokie. Tribute. Dauntless.
Revolution is coming.
We have read it.
I have said it.
Can you feel it?
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