Monday, January 9, 2012

Bookish News: The Occupy Movement & YA Dystopians

Photo credit: AP from Salon article
Yesterday posted an interesting article entitled "What Occupy can learn from the Hunger Games".  Mike Doherty wrote about the how the Occupy movement can learn a few lessons from dystopian novels.  He specifically cites an example of how the London Occupy movement uses slogans and visuals from the graphic novel V for Vendetta.  Doherty discusses the parallels between Occupy and popular young adult dystopian novels:
It’s fitting that the Occupy movement should have drawn inspiration from dystopian fiction, an increasingly popular genre for teenagers and young adults in particular. If, as Time magazine suggests, the person of the year was the Protester, the publishing phenomenon was the Dystopia — the story of the dissenter in a repressive society who becomes a revolutionary. The new wave was led by two trilogies, both published from 2008-10: Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” (whose big-budget Hollywood adaptation kicks off in March) and Patrick Ness’ “Chaos Walking” (now being adapted by Lionsgate).
The article discusses examples from The Hunger Games, Matched, Divergent and Chaos Walking in depth.  There are SPOILERS in the article for these books, so be prepared for them if you haven't read these stories yet.  Doherty concludes with intriguing insights:
The new YA dystopian novels are thoughtful books, but they don’t offer solutions or blueprints – they merely suggest ways of combating stifling political ideologies. They’re full of different voices, or what literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, writing in – and against – Soviet Russia, called “polyphony”: the opposite of propaganda, and the enemy of ideology. Where they resonate with the Occupy movement, it’s in the protagonists’ determination to recalibrate the world around us in creative ways: seeing a bank as an educational institution, a tent as a library, a movement as a gathering of people asking questions, and encouraging ways of thinking by which solutions could be found. 
Check out the full article. It's worth the time. While I'm reading my next dystopian, I'll think about how the storyline could parallel current events.

1 comment:

  1. That's a really interesting article. I can't believe I missed the picture of Katniss below your last entry! If you loved Matched I think Crossed will be a tough read. It definitely just makes you wish away all the months until the next book is out!