Middle School Teacher in Rural Alaska

Which dystopian world would you live in? Which is most realistic?

on December 27, 2011

“Man, this is JUST like the The Giver,” I said to myself as I was reading Matched by Ally Condie tonight.

Well, at least I thought I said it to myself. Turns out that I must have said it out loud because my husband said to me, “What is just like The Giver?”

“Well, in Matched they euthanize the old people just like they do in the Giver. And in this book they also assign jobs to people like they do in the Giver. And didn’t they match spouses in the Giver too?” I remarked, nearly incredulous at the similarities.

“Hmm, I haven’t read Matched yet, but it does sound like there are some similarities,” hubby said, and then went back to his book.

The similarities between Matched and the The Giver got me thinking about all the dystopian books I’ve read in the past year or so.  I started to wonder: which society is most realistic? If I had to pick one society to live in which would it be?

Now, before I begin pontificating, let me list the titles & series that I have read: The Giver by Lois Lowry, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, Ship Breaker by Paulo Baugucipl, The Uglies by Scott Leviathan, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner. With the exception of Matched if the book is part of a series I have read all books in the series.

First, the society that is most realistic… There were a few contenders. The Uglies series came to mind, particularly because remants of our current society exist in the book’s vision of the future. Similarly, the mentions that Matched made about the problems in our current society gave it an element of realism. I also thought that the violence and the reality show aspect of The Hunger Games has a lot of truth to it. But ultimately, Oryx and Crake was the most realistic dystopian society. For those who have not read Oryx and Crake the society it presents is one where wealthy corporations make all the decisions, genetic engineering produces horrific animals, and the divide between the rich and the poor is immense and unbridgeable. Sound like any societies you know? The dystopia of Oryx and Crake is frighteningly close to our own future…

Now, if I had to pick one society to live in which would it be? There’s no way I would live in the world of The Maze Runner, far too dismal. While I wouldn’t mind meeting some of the characters from the Hunger Games, living in that society simply sounds too dangerous. The world of Among the Hidden wouldn’t be too bad, the living conditions for most people in that society aren’t awful. But, after looking at all the options I think I would go live in the world of The Uglies.  For most people in this book life is free of violence. And even though The Pretties have brain damage, they sound like they have a lot of fun at their parties- certainly more fun than the boring scheduled life portrayed in Matched.

All that being said, the Social Studies teacher in me is itching to jump out and give a civics lesson about why people need to understand and participate in government, but I shall save that for another day…


2 responses to “Which dystopian world would you live in? Which is most realistic?

  1. Stacy says:

    You should read, “The House of the Scorpion King,” by Nancy Farmer….I’m not a huge dystopian fan and that book blows me away every time I think about it.

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