Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I haven’t known that word forever.  I’ve only known it for a few years.  Sometimes my friends ask me what it means.  I don’t know the real definition, but this is what I think.  Dystopian: a utopian society gone wrong.

It sounds funny doesn’t it:  a utopian society gone wrong? How can a society be utopian if it can go wrong.

They always do go wrong.  Utopia is an illusion.  It always means control and loss of freedom.  It has to fail, because freedom is in our blood.  We cannot breathe the air of control. 

Dystopian books are wildly popular and I always wonder why.  I think it is because we see in them a mirror of our own ideals, and our own society.  We see in them our lust for freedom, our distaste for control. 
Sometimes when I read dystopian I feel that it is a little too close to reality.  It’s troubling and frightening.  Is it a warning, or is it just entertainment.

Currently, Friend-husband and I are reading Matched.  We are nearly finished with the first book in a series of three.  We are completely drawn in to the poetry of Ally Conde’s story, the music of her words.  We are invested in the story, the characters.  The characters feel real.  They feel like they could be our neighbors, our friends.
We talk about the motives of the society, and the cunning of their control.  We talk of their experiments, their deceit, their lies.  We can feel the violence coming.  Dystopian stories always seem to come to violence. 

Who is the society?  It is not the people.  Is it the officials?  The officials are polite thugs, courteous bullies.  They are not to be disobeyed.  There are consequences for even slight infractions.  The officials represent the society but reason tells me they are not the society.  Who do they answer to?

Cassia wants to choose her own match.  “Where will it end?” asks the official. “Would people then want to choose how many children they have; where they will live; what vocation they will have?”

"Why not?"  we thunder--we who breathe the air of freedom--we who value choice.

Linda Garner




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