First it was The Hunger Games, and then it was Divergent and soon will be The Maze Runner followed by Jupiter Ascending. Dystopic Futures are taking Hollywood by storm. I am fascinated by this new Sci-Fi phenomenon in Young Adult Fiction. I am so fascinated that I wrote a book analyzing The Hunger Games called Blessed Are They That Hunger-Young Adult Fiction, America and The Biblehttp://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000705175/Blessed-Are-They-That-Hunger.aspx (available Summer 2014 on Amazon, itunes etc). But apparently, The Hunger Games was just the beginning.
I saw the movie Divergent yesterday. Some are saying that it is a rip-off of The Hunger Games. There are similarities between the two films as well as the other movies that will be coming soon to theaters. The similarity that strikes me the most is how dark, violent and hopeless they are. I wonder what it is about these dark tales of oppressive totalitarian regimes that resonates with today’s youth?
In my book, I detail how many of the themes in The Hunger Games are reflected in our current society. As I watched Divergent and the trailers of the other movies that will be out soon, I hear a cry for help from the younger generation.
Like the characters in these stories, this generation was born into a society that they didn’t create. They must live under a repressive government that scrutinizes and controls their lives.
They have many more regulations than I had as a young adult. I was surprised to learn recently that freshman college students are not allowed to have their own vehicle if they live on campus at a California University. This was not the case when I was in school. There were no curfews when I was in high school, no restrictions on how many friends my age I could transport or where. There were not even seat belt laws. I could drive to the mountains with my friends and their skis in the back of my dad’s pick up.
If the cops came to a party where there was underage drinking, they sent us home. No one got arrested. No parents were held liable for the party.
The government is monitoring cell phones and internet use now. These technologies were not available in my youth.
Today’s youth are also being raised differently than my generation. They have more homework and scheduled programs and less time for free play. Parents are accused of being helicopters in how they hover over every action and behavior their children do. Young adults feel powerless.
When I was a child I had very little homework and went “out to play” in the neighborhood until sunset when I knew it was time for dinner. We played hide and seek all over the neighborhood and built forts in the woods and imagined all kinds of worlds. We flew kites in the fields and sometimes just laid on our backs and watched the clouds in the sky for hours, determining what shapes they made, while we made necklaces out of wild flowers.
Today’s young adults will be the first generation less likely to exceed their parents in economic security.
The characters in these movies are tired of being powerless and they take back their power-their inalienable right to be free. Today’s young generation want to be free of a culture that imprisons them.
My hope is that like the characters in the dystopic movies, the young generation will bring back freedom. The wars that have been fought and the lives lost to keep America free were in vain as we allowed our freedoms to be taken away in a quiet encroachment of the government- one law at a time. Those of us that remember that freedom can show them the way and fight to bring it back.