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Defining Genre: Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Societes
Transcript of Defining Genre: Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Societes
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Does Hunger Games Make the "Dystopian Genre" cut?
The answer is no. Though it’s commonly hailed as the impetus for the current wave of dystopian sci-fi for teens, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is a bit of an edge case. While Panem is definitely a “bad place,” and features the same type of oppressive, stringent government often found in dystopian-SF, it lacks the “counter-utopic” elements of many of the aforementioned classics. It’s not presented like an ideal world, and Panem’s society wasn’t founded out of some misguided attempt to create one. In fact, it’s clear that everyone but the very small ruling class finds life in Panem pretty horrible.
The Apocalypse: The End of the World as we Know It...
What The Hunger Games is, without a doubt, is a post-apocalyptic novel. It takes place long after the destruction of the modern United States, in a nation that “rose from the ashes” of a global war. The new society that we encounter in the books directly hinges on the destruction of our own, the hall-mark of post-apocalyptic literature. Post-apocalyptic stories differ in how long they’re set after the end of our world. Some, like Cormac McCarthy’s "The Road" cover the direct aftermath of societal break-down.
Defining: "Dystopian Sci-fi"
In Ancient Greek, “dystopia” means “bad place.” In fact, a dystopia is considered an anti-utopia. Usually the societal goal was, at one point or another, to create a perfect society, but a fatal flaw in that society was overlooked, leading to an oppressive state where individuality, self-expression, and civil liberties have been squashed.Some dystopian novels you may have read in school are: "1984," "Brave New World," and "The Giver." A great new young adult novel with this genre is the "Divergent" series.
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So, can these two genres mix?
Of course, many dystopian sci-fi novels are also post-apocalyptic. For instance, The Children of Men, Brave New World, The Giver, and Divergent all use the end of our contemporary society to wipe the slate clean and make room for a dystopian world.