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Copy of Dystopian Fiction - Introduction

Understanding the genre of The Stone Gods
by

Kelly Wendt

on 25 April 2016

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Transcript of Copy of Dystopian Fiction - Introduction

DYSTOPIAN
Fahrenheit 451
Not given a specific time period, but hints at around a late 21st century. In this society, books are banned and illegal to carry. Firefighters don’t put out fires, but instead they burn and destroy books. The society is essentially hypnotized by television (glorify it) and don’t partake in an intellectual activities. This is the flaw of this society. Citizens seem like they’re happy, but they’re living in ignorance and for pleasure; they don’t pay attention to what’s going on in their society. This lifestyle only begins to show flaws when the main character, Guy Montag, begins to uncover the wonders of books and how much people are missing out. Guy is a fireman himself and eventually gets caught storing some books. Frantically, he runs away and escapes to some other outsiders like him. Coincidently, there’s a war going on and Montag looks back at his old life and sees it get blown away by bombs.
“He floated on his back when the valise filled and sank; the river was mild and leisurely, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapours for supper. The river was very real; it held him comfortably and gave him the time at last, the leisure, to consider this month, this year, and a lifetime of years.”
FICTION
`
A DYSTOPIA is...
an imaginary futuristic world

oppression and control

or a
corrupt business
corporation
Start out making it seem like a perfect society or "utopia"
As the story continues, it is revealed that the world is opposite from perfect
an exaggerated
"worst-case" scenario
Dystopians usually give
criticism
to a trend in our real world
Until 1993, when Lois Lowry published
The Giver.
This was one of the first dystopian novels written specifically for young adults.



This started a movement.




Since the beginning of the 2000s, dystopian novels have become one of the most popular and successful trends in young adult literature.
Common Story Elements
Most Dystopian Stories share common elements or ideas
The life of citizens in a dystopian word:
harsh control

under control of a government, a corporation,
technology
or
religious
or philosophical ideas.
The truth about the world is often kept
a secret from
most of the society.
The story sometimes takes place after an
apocalyptic
event that ends the world as we know it and gives rise to
a new world
and a new way of life.
Citizens are expected to strictly
conform
to society's expectations.
Individuality
is seen as a bad thing.
The society tends to
dehumanize
its citizens.
illusion of
a perfect society
covering up how horrible things really are
the story's
oppressors
truly believe that they are doing what's right
use of
propaganda
meant to keep the citizens under control.
The main character of a dystopian story is often one of the few (or one of the first) to
question the goodness
of his or her society. He or she recognizes how wrong their society is, and this character's perspective helps the reader recognize
the negative aspects
of this world.
Themes in Dystopian Stories
The dangers of
a particular type of Government
the dangers of
technology


the dangers of
desensitization
.
the importance of
humanity
the importance of
knowledge
and truth
The danger of
allowing one group to have too much power
the importance of
free will
and
individuality
Common Topics and
Current Trends
Religion:

Used as control device for groups
Dystopias look at various aspects of
society
and their effects on the
quality of life
for people
Economics - controlling how resources or money is distributed
Politics:

Control by government
Environment/Resource Depletion
:lack of nature/natural resources
Social Structures
:
families (extended, nuclear, institutional, etc.), gender roles/status, relationships, social classes
Science, Technology, Media:
Effects of AI/robotics, privacy issues (surveillance, data mining, drones, etc.) ; negative use of medical advancement (organ harvesting, cloning), entertainment and advertising as tool for distraction from reality...
Common
CONFLICTS

are framed by a lack of humanity & assume a man vs. society or authority: the community, the collective, the corporation, the bureaucracy, the machine, the master/dictator, economic system, etc.

Also,
psychological
or physical punishment often thwart protagonists.
Dystopias often focus on a...
current social issue
technological trend
governmental trend
ECONOMICS:
one large business attempts to take control of a situation
POLITICS:
Different districts are created and controlled by police, creating a totalitarian state
RESOURCE DEPLETION:
there is a shortage of water and other leisurely goods our society is accustomed to
SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
for 12 hours, there is no law enforcement, no rules
TECHNOLOGY:
the creation of a robot who then develops a mind of its own
RELIGION:
a small group of people use a religion and set of practices to control a larger group of people
Have you ever felt like you were unwanted? Felt like you did not belong? Or had to pick between living or having every single part of your body transplanted into someone else? Have you ever hated your parents? Yelled at them? And wanted to run away?
UNWIND
Society
The Bill of Life
The Federal System
The Heartland War:
The Storking Initiative:
"If they catch her, she's obliged to keep the baby.. but if they open the door and find nothing but the child, it's "finder's keepers" in the eye of the law. Whether they want it or not, the baby is legally theirs" (54).
"On one side, people were murdering abortion doctors to protect the right to life, while on the other side people were getting pregnant just to sell their fetal tissue" (223).
Characters
Connor Lassiter
"Connor hangs on the thought. The idea of kicking AWOL by himself terrifies him. He might put up a tough front, he might act like a bad boy at school-but running away on his own? He doesn't even know if he has the guts" (4).
Thinking ahead has never been one on Connor's strong points. If it was, he might not have gotten into the various situations... situations that got him labels like "troubled" and "at risk," and finally this last label, "unwind" (11).
Risa Ward
"Connor takes a good look at her and smiles. Risa's pretty. Not in the way Ariana was pretty-in a better way. Ariana's prettiness was all about makeup and pigment injections and stuff. Risa has a natural kind of beauty" (45).
"He knows about StaHo kids. They have to learn to take care of themselves real young, or their lives are not very pleasant. He should have realized she was a touch-me-not" (46).
Levi Jedediah Calder
"He knew he was a tithe from the time he was little. "You're special," his parents had always told him. " Your life will be to serve God, and mankind" (31).
"This is what I was born for. It's what I've lived my life for. I am chosen. I am blessed. And I am happy" (34).
"'The old Lev,' he says, 'tricked you into trusting him, then turned you into the police the first chance he got.' ... 'The new Lev has better things to do'" (235).
Minor Characters
Josias Aldridge
Ronald
Cleavers
Pastor Dan
Hannah
Hayden
Cy-Ty
The Admiral
Ariana
Different Settings
HARVEST CAMP
"Each facility is privately owned, state licensed, and federally funded in your tax dollars... Happy Jack Harvest Camp, in beautiful Happy Jack, Arizona...There's a barbed wire fence, but it's hidden behind a towering hibiscus hedge" (264-266).
"From her vantage point on the roof she see's them brought down the flagstone path that all the kids call "the red carpet." Kids who walk the carpet have guards flanking them on either side, with firm grips on their upper arms..."How can you watch them day after day, going in and never coming out?" (274).
THE GRAVEYARD
"The blazing sun bakes the Arizona hardpan by day, and the temperature plunges at night. More than four thousand planes from every era of aviation history shine in the heat of the sun" (197).
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