Ready Student One: How to Analyze a Dystopian NovelApril 05, 2018

What do "The Hunger Games", "The Maze Runner", and "Ready Player One" have in common? The titles are the latest in dystopian literature, and they are targeted at younger readers. The genre didn't go out of vogue, as the likes of H.G. Wells have popularized it during the turn of the century. What happened next could be an intriguing essay topic. Did the reads became jaded of these authors, who didn't attempt to hide their political beliefs? Perhaps. The aftermath of the Great War, and the Second World War, prompted the public to think that it was inappropriate to discuss such matter. Charlie Chaplin didn't heed that advice, and he got into serious trouble. Time enabled the next generation of writers to give dystopian literature a different perspective. They didn't turn back on history, though.

Think of George Miller, whose "Mad Max" was inspired by the financial crisis haunting Australia during the 1970s. This dystopian action movie played into the fear and anxiety of the moviegoers, but its box-office success prompted Hollywood producers to think of a revenge film instead. Miller wasn't Quentin Tarantino, as his remake of "Mad Max" could be "Gulliver's Travels" set in a dystopian future. Jonathan Swift would fancy it.

The recent titles, featuring teenagers facing a bleak future, have simpler themes. Teens could deal with any problem if they believe in themselves. They can find resolve in other teenagers who are dealing with the same issues. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't discount of a cataclysmic future, as Ernest Cline describe in "Ready Player One". You can suggest it to your professor (as an essay topic), but you're likely to analyze a classic. (Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" is the most modern that you can get.) If you haven't read enough classics, if not familiar with the popular titles, then you might get into serious trouble. It can take you longer to finish the assignment, almost miss the deadline. No need to worry.

5 Things You Need to Know About Dystopian Literature

The clue isn't found in the title. You're wasting a lot of time if you stare at the front cover of the assigned text, trying too hard to deconstruct the meaning behind the title. If you do, which is pretty impressive, then your analysis won't be good enough for several pages (or more). You only need to be familiar with the author's lifetime, which should give you plenty of information. You must have a selective mindset, as you need to figure out why this particular author choose a dystopian setting to express his (or her) views.

Authors might be showing the jitters. This can be open for debate. H.G. Wells foresaw the side effects of the Industrial Revolution, one of which led to the rise of jingoistic sentiments across the European landscape. The English author tried to do something about it, who became more vocal about his political opinion as he grew older. He also chased women who shared his intellectual leanings. This may not be the case of George Orwell. As a matter of fact, the Englishman, who supported democratic socialism, had his share of critics. If you could write a persuasive essay, then you might end up in the top of the class.

The experience is repeated until the lesson is learned. You can cite the Great War and the Second Great War, but you can mislead your professor if you discuss Anzac Day. If you can't think of an argument right away, then select the recent Young-adult titles. For instance, social media has a downside. More people choose Instagram (or Facebook) over actual meeting(s). This has been described as a saving grace of Americans (in Cline's words), but you can think of something else. Your professor will appreciate it.

How dystopian literature remain popular through the decades. It's not right to compare dystopian literature to the most popular Children's books. There are must-read titles in Modern literature, which are set in a dystopian future, but generations of readers didn't get tired of reading tales of extreme suffering. It might be a kind of perverted entertainment, which comics have turned into an art. You can introduce the superheroes, who have changed the trend in filmmaking.

It's possible for a mash-up (novel). Jane Austen may have second thoughts about Seth Grahame-Smith's efforts in turning her classic work into a mash-up hit. What she have intended to say may have lost in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", but male readers love strong women. Lara Croft is out of the question, though.

The moral lesson

It's hard to tell if dystopian literature is a set of prophetic books that warn readers to get their acts straight. It can be a plea to keep humanity alive. (Ray Bradbury is the perfect case.) You can only pick one side. If you have another idea, then don't hesitate to approach your professor. It will be better to clarify about it.

If you insist that it's pure entertainment, which many titles are all about, then don't discuss it with a grain of salt. You still need to persuade your professor about its worth (or lack of).

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