Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dystopian Stories...I'm Sensing A Theme

The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1)*

Last week I finished reading The Giver. It's one of those books you see on posters in libraries. That Newberry Medal indicates it's a book I should read. My wife read it. The kids have read it and when I saw the audiobook version available from the local library, I downloaded it and read it, too.

It was not what I had expected. Let's just say I did judge this particular book by its cover. I thought it was a story about WWI or WWII and the giver was an old man who helps know, by giving.

No, this book belongs in the same category as Brave New World, 1984, and even the Hunger Games trilogy to some extent. (I hope I didn't spoil it for anyone...). It's a short read and it made me think about dystopian stories. They all have something in common: forced compliance to bring about the greater good.

There's a quote in one of my favorite movies, Serenity. Mal explains why the plan he's proposing is worth risking all their lives. 

          You all got on this boat for
          different reasons, but you all
          come to the same place. So now
          I'm asking more of you than I have
          before. Maybe all. 'Cause as
          sure as I know anything I know
          this: They will try again. Maybe
          on another world, maybe on this
          very ground, swept clean. A year
          from now, ten, they'll swing back
          to the belief that they can make
          people... better.§
I liked The Giver. It took situations not so far removed from our own and told a story of what might happen with enough time, resources and lack of free will. Why do these stories keep showing up every few years? Are they warnings? prophecies? A promise of things to come? I believe if we continue to ignore history, they will be.
* Photo used without permission from:
§ Quote used without permission from:

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