Hold on! Here goes a pendulum swing from playing on paper with paint to talking about utopian/dystopian literature. While flipping channels tonight, I found the first Hunger Games movie. Since I haven’t watched it in a while, I decided to see if I was in the mood to sit through it.
I haven’t really read much utopian literature, but I enjoy dystopian literature more than I probably should. I felt so weird saying that I liked the Hunger Games movies because it was about people killing each other, and I never did quite understand how a country could think that memorializing a rebellion in that particular way was a good thing and something to celebrate. (I am WAY BEHIND, because I have the trilogy and still have not read it, mainly because I suspect that once I start, I won’t stop until I’m finished. I just never have that kind of energy! I have, however, seen all the movies, for what that’s worth.)
How does a society decide what’s good and bad in their world? If you read utopian literature, an author is telling you not only what they value in society and what they want to see happen, but what is wrong with his or her society from their perspective. If you read, you can often discern author biases and what they believe.
I’m always fascinated by authors who can take a society like Panem and bring it to life in such a horrifying way. What have they imagined that brought such things into literary/creative life? How can they live with the world they’ve created? Would they be willing to live in such a world? I always assume that the worlds they build come from some idea or some image? Is it in their dreams?
Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about a book that created a future I almost would have considered to be perfect–but it’s not. But now, I think I’m in the mood for a little Hunger Games.
Check out this Huffington Post article for thoughts about dystopian literature and how it might make it easier to pretend real horrifying things don’t exist.