Dystopia by SteFunny Yeung on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/stefunnyyeung/5254919272/ -Shared under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

ya dystopias and current politics

[photo credit: Dystopia by SteFunny Yeung]

I just spotted a couple of articles about the political modelling going on in YA dystopias: What Occupy can Learn from the Hunger Games and a comment on that article that asks Are YA dystopias secretly conservative?

It seems like there’s some connection there in wondering about the ramifications of political messages for these impressionable readers and discounting their agency. Rosenberg says the message of opting out is “worrying, given the age of the target audience” which isn’t a full on “These kids today’ll believe anything,” but I was sensitive to it after this week’s readings in my youth services class that discuss how much importance there is to making sure young people are making their own decisions.

Also, this review of Z for Zachariah had a bit calling a character’s decision “very pacifistic, almost dangerously so” which struck me as interesting for its use of non-politically correct ideas.

Anyway, what do you think? I’d be interested to hear more stories about large scale political reform for YA, myself.

2 thoughts on “ya dystopias and current politics

  1. I figured I’d comment here to stay away from your coursework. I graduated a year ago, and trust me, I remember how it can be! 😉

    I just wanted to say that I don’t personally hold really any conservative values. I’m kind of a socialist anarchist, and thus, a message of pacifism when what we need is action concerns me. Perhaps also with the bullying increasing on the national level in schools I’d hope kids would learn to stand up for themselves rather than let the bullies win.

    Do we as adults bring some of our judgment models to YA lit? Absolutely. But I also don’t think viewing teens as impressionable is a bad thing. They are. I certainly was. Acknowledging content of the book that might influence them simply opens doors for discussions. Such as, “Why do you think Anne left instead of fighting?”

    • Oh yes, I wasn’t trying to insinuate anything about your views; I just find the idea of dangerous pacifism intriguing. That’s kind of how I was raised (with the idea that pacifism is dangerous and therefore important), so seeing the idea in other settings (even if it’s to say that that was a poor choice) makes me happy. I read Z for Zachariah a few months ago, and I was so pleased with the ending and its abandonment of the traditional redemptive violence.

      In terms of teen impressionability, I get what you’re saying. I’m interested in how we deal with teens who are impressionable without treating them like they’re children. It seems so easy to be condescending because of the myths of teenageness, and I’m looking for good ways to deal with them from a factual basis. Just noting that the ending is different and discussing it is probably a great step. Thanks!

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