How Dystopian Futures Are Merely Mirrors Into Our Own Society

After our appetite was recently satiated on Hunger Games, we are diverging our fingers to the next tasty literature meal: The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Again we sink our teeth into a dystopian society and a bleak prediction of our future Earth. What these books never fail to dish up are the faults with society, humans and their failure to actually attain humanity. Yet, what we also find in the pages of these books is that shadowed face of ourselves reflected back in the dim lights of our bed-side lamp. Books are the indirect way of examining our life and letting us see our reality through an imagined reality.

Once again, Roth did not disappoint in turning me into a broody and musing teenager, with my “Rise Against” music blasting through my headphones. This book mirrored my conformist life and I didn’t like the reflection staring back at me. The imagined dystopian world felt too familiar.

Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Divergent hc c(2)Sound familiar to our own society? Today, the communities teenagers live in have established their factions and we find ourselves pressured to fit into one. Roth’s first faction is Amity, the community dedicated to peacefulness and most likely to be gallivanting around with flowers in their hair. In today’s society, you would probably refer to them as the hipster kids– the vegan dieting and Green-Peace loving type. Then there is Erudite, intellect-seeking brainiacs, who safeguard their society’s knowledge. You’ll see them in your school library, fixated on their MacBook screen and spending their time socialising with a digital Pokémon, rather than real people. Next are the Dauntless– the reckless and thrill-seeking– who are metaphorically embodied in the binge drinkers of today, whose vernacular is often reduced to “let’s get loose after school.” Abnegation is the fourth faction, benevolent and selfless souls, who walk the school corridors moralising your hedonistic ways and condemning brown-nosing teachers. Lastly, there is Candor, the blunt and truthful faction. You find them hidden behind locker doors, gossip mongering and sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. Today, we can’t seem to escape “The Plastics'” mentality of a stratified society, based on fitting a particular paradigm. I can almost hear Gretchen Wieners screaming in my ear: “You can’t sit with us!”

So where do we fit? Or are we faced with the horrid concept of being Divergent?

Perhaps the greatest lesson Divergent can feed us after being left hungry from Hunger Games– is that we crave these dystopian novels because they mirror our society all too closely. Or sometimes are our societies. Controversy is a dish best served cold. As The Wall Street Journal suggests: “DIVERGENT is really an extended metaphor about the trials of modern adolescence: constantly having to take tests that sort and rank you among your peers, facing separation from your family, agonizing about where you fit in, and deciding when (or whether) to reveal the ways you might diverge from the group.” Ultimately, this book made me ask the question: Is any dystopian novel really an insight into a future society or is it merely an imagined metaphor OF our society? Hidden behind the inky black text of these novels, we see our cultural anxieties and calls for change. This is reflected throughout the history of dystopia fiction.

George Orwell’s 1984

1984George Orwell’s erudite 1984 (published in 1949) comes to mind first, where the protagonist, Winston Smith rebels against the totalitarian Oceania state in which he finds himself in. An advocate for socialism, Orwell creatively denounces despotic systems that repress the human spirit, witnessed in history in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. In the novel the Soviet Leader, Stalin is personified in the infamous “Big Brother” character that shrouds the future society, with parallel ‘stick techniques’ to keep the proletariat in line. The novel also deals with the brainwashing of citizens through propaganda, where “the past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.” Nazi Germany and its propaganda minister, Goebbels are probably the most infamous for this, as he believed “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Orwell saw himself as the educator for the ignorant citizens of his time that took things at face-value in an almost zombie-like inertness.

United Kingdom hierarchical society was also metamorphosed into the writer’s state of Oceania, so the book could serve as a lens into how the upper-class of society used politics as a vehicle to maintain hierarchical control. His classic quote: “War is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory… but to keep the very structure of society intact” reverberated through the brick foundations that his very society was built upon. Furthermore, quips against English aristocracy are alluded to within the text, such as O’Brien (the representative of the oppressing political party) being pictured as someone who would have used a snuffbox in the past– an iconic companion for any English gentleman’s pocket. Ultimately, Orwell was only using the novel as a veil over his socialist message that “the essential structure of society has never altered” from its class system and probably never would. His future society was an allegory of the one he was surviving at the time.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451Additionally, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1953) served as a hammer to pulverise analogously McCarthyism and its push towards cultural homogeneity in the 1950s. The author lived in a time where those with original thought were persecuted as communist enemies” by the Un-American Activities Committee. Ergo, through Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury contended that Americans were living in a censored world, being fed “water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and (McCarthy) telling (the public) it’s wine when it’s not.” In the novel, prohibition and mass book burnings conveniently achieved at a temperature of, you guessed it, fahrenheit 451,are used as an allegory to McCarthy’s power censorship and the scorching of individualism and self-knowledge in American Society. Bradbury detested the ignorance that pervaded American citizens, as they believed the government’s Red-Scare was actually imminent. McCarthy’s communist witch hunts were also metaphorically represented with the protagonist, Guy Montag actually fleeing a mechanical hound (the embodiment of the President), for defying the strict laws that govern society. Ultimately, Fahrenheit 451 became the temperature in which the ideologies of the 1950s burned.

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games

Hunger Games Also, we cannot look past Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and its blatant commentary on the inequitable distribution of the word’s resources aand wealth. Child soldiers holding knives, trained to kill for a mindless cause for a power-body, horrified many readers when they first picked up this novel. Yet, what they do not realise is that this dystopian future is happening right now across the ocean. We read about the Capitol, (Collins’ metaphoric USA), eating their cuisine as they sit passively and watch children fight for survival, without lifting a helping hand. The ‘Hunger Games’ mentality is not too far from reality, in which every day the low socio-economic areas of the world, where children are stolen and trained to kill for their leaders and their ambitions.

Furthermore, a blatant attack on today’s plastic surgery is revealed through the sprouting blue eyelashes and cat noses that the Capitol people model. Collins is asking: how far are we willing to warp our bodies in the attainment of beauty? Joan Rivers, I’m looking at you. Again, we see a society fixated on surgically engineered perfection– that the concept of beauty becomes so distorted over time. Again, this is prevalent today, if you just go pick up your closest “Dolly” magazine and look at the skeletal and emaciated figure on the front.

Each of these examples reveals how the socio-cultural context of the times is permeated under the block-text of dystopian novels. So perhaps dystopian fiction encourages societal narcissism– as we constantly find ourselves staring at its pages, only to see our society reflected back at us. Though I encourage anyone to diverge their eyes to Divergent, if they think they can handle what society they’ll see in the mirror.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Lorraine Copeland

    Fahrenheit 451…excellent choice! It is one of my favorites and it does create a realistic dystopian future. I mean, half of the things mentioned in the book are already happening (obsession with television, insensitivity to violence in war, and the need to make things faster and smaller) so the step to the future portrayed in the novel seems possible, although radical. Plus, I love the anti-censorship angle, in any sort of literature.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi Lorraine, I totally agree… as I was reading the novel, I felt the aspects of the dystopian society were far too familiar. Also, the virtual reality of sitting in front of walls in the book and watching other people, got me really scared about how much time I spend on social media. Also, me too… it makes me so aggravated when freedom of speech is censored!

      • I agree with both of you that time spent on social media and and the obsession with television are both things today that relate to the theme of technology allowing for dystopian societies to occur. If you really enjoy Fahrenheit 451 and The Hunger Games, Usher II is a really good short story by Ray Bradbury about the death of literature. The story is a short read, but really drives home the point that the future looks bleak when we do not educate ourselves about the issues that dystopian literature addresses and start caring more about the world we live in.

  2. Dystopian fiction has always intrigues me since reading the Handmaid’s Tale and I’ve amused the parallels between the seemingly estranged world of the Hunger Games and our own trivialised lives. The passivity of audiences to violence being mirrored in our own society is something I hadn’t really thought of before and this article certainly opened my eyes up to that! I love your writing style!

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Oh thank you very much:) I actually haven’t read the Handmaid’s Tale, but I’ll be sure to put it on my infinitely long list of books to read!
      Yeah, when I first realised the parallels between Hunger Games and reality, I was honestly chilled. The killing of children seems so barbaric and preposterous, but then again it is happening right now, not so far away. It really makes you think!

  3. I believe that what makes a great dystopia is it’s relevance to the author’s world, believability, and how in-depth the mechanics of the society are analyzed. Based on this criteria, 1984 would be #1. This is all opinion, of course. I entered the world of dystopian fiction because of my interest in social commentary and political science.

    So, with my bias acknowledged, 1984 should be at the top of any list.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hey Lester. 1984 will always be dear to me, out of all dystopian worlds. Orwell created a masterpiece that really opens the eyes, I could not agree more.
      I personally love books that deliver a social message and thus finding the metaphors in each of these dystopias thoroughly interests me too! I love a bit of controversy as I imagine you do too?

  4. Santiago

    On of the best newer dystopean novels is
    “Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart
    My absolut favorite now….

    • World War Z is a great look at dystopian, though I think it’s more post-apocalyptic than dystopian.

      A book that (honesty) probably isn’t good enough to get on the list but I enjoyed immensly was The Alliance by Gerald Lund. Extremely dystopian (might have religious tones, I haven’t read it in a while) but a good read; good, not great, but MUCH better than F451 IMO.

      Speaking of F451 I think that it’s a good theme with HORRIBLE delivery. It’s hardly understandable writing, and it honestly is one book I’m happy to burn. Animal Farm should have taken its place. A unique, true view of totalitarian / dystopian governments.

      • Emily Lighezzolo

        Hey Emma, I totally agree about Fahrenheit 451… its literary style was bland; however, its concepts won me over. Still such profound thinking. Oh yes, Orwell does remain forever the master of dystopian

    • A couple of others to suggest – Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler set in the near future and Oryx and Crake by – I think it was also by Margaret Atwood. How bout Sinclair Lewis It can’t happen here? Also, some of the nuclear war books like On the Beach, Alas Babylon. The Road by McCarthy is very good and more dystopian than any other book I’ve read.

      • Emily Lighezzolo

        Oh The Road is a beautiful book… but they never seem to cast it in “dystopian fiction” for some reason.
        It’s quite scary the post-apocalyptic nuclear novels that writers come up with… considering the aggravated nuclear threats that are swung around quite liberally these days. It makes you think: will we or our children ever experience such futures?

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I’m yet to try this, but apparently the New York Times agrees with you Santiago! I looked it up on good reads and I feel like I may be a sucker for this novel!

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I’m yet to try this, but apparently the New York Times agrees with you Santiago! I looked it up on good reads and I feel like I may be a sucker for this novel!

  5. Todd Adams

    I have read Farenheit 451, lord of the flies (why didn’t you mention it) and 1984. I loved 451 but disliked the other two. Lord of the flies could have been excelent if the writing was better and I disliked how 1984 ended.
    If my future children ever give me any fits about reading I’ll tell them the only book that they must read is 451 and they have to prove they read it. Then I personally won’t bug them about it.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Oh there are so many dystopian novels I could have mentioned but just didn’t have the time. I really just wanted to show how they mirror our society so closely and I felt like these ones did a good job:)
      Pretty much everyone who does not like reading should read F451… it’ll scare them so much that they’ll become book worms!

    • Well Lord of The Flies isn’t dystopian and futuristic. It was set in the time it was written, yet away from society. He was showing how the constructs of society are weak and dissolve when they are no longer convenient to us.

  6. This is a very nice article, thank you. However while most of the books on here I have read and found interesting, I would have to disagree with Fahrenheit 451. For although the premise was fabulous, I’m afraid that I found all the characters flat and unlikable and thus making it very difficult to enjoy the book.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Actually I do agree with the literary style of Bradbury… I too found his work very plain, being a lover of adjectives and imagery. However, it wasn’t until I started pondering his extended commentary about society, that I truly appreciated the novel in its entirety

  7. i have read 1984 at least once a year since i was thirteen and i still pick up on relevant orwellian ideas each time i read it

    it has to be my favourite book of all time

    i don’t know why it appeals to me so much but once i start reading it i cannot put it down

    i believe it is very well written however i become increasingly paranoid and observant of going-ons around me after i read it

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I think any dystopian novel makes you paranoid about the way society is heading and the world around you. Though I am so glad you appreciate 1984 as much as I: Orwell is simply pure genius!

  8. wow this was a very interesting read! It is very informative and makes you look at the meanings behind the different books. Hunger games meaning is a very sneaky one, I didn’t think of it that way. I also love the way you describe Divergent , comparing the different characteristics, you wrote that section very beautifully. well done Emily 🙂

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi Luke, thanks so much:) yeah, the underside of Hunger Games kind of creeps up on you… it’s funny how often we miss how similar these concepts are to our world at the moment. Funny but scary

  9. I’m not sure I agree that dystopian fiction encourages societal narcissism. While I certainly agree that these books are a mirror of our own society, narcissism implies that we crave or are enamored of the image we see. These books push us to spurn that reflection and to change. They are the societies of their time taken to the extreme, and the recognition of similar flaws in our own society is crucial to reform and necessary to spark any social change. That being said, you chose excellent examples to support your argument (bonus points for a Mean Girls reference!). You’ve also convinced me that I need to read Divergent!

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi Danica, thanks your point of view as I found it very enlightening! haha, can never go wrong with Mean Girls! But please do read Divergent, you won’t be disappointed!

    • Jordan Blake-Shute

      I have read both The Hunger Games Trilogy and the Divergent Trilogy and I find it scary that we seem to be closer to a dystopian future than we like to admit they are both great books which make for a great read.

  10. KeshiaLynn13

    All of these are great choices of dystopian novels. Dystopian novels are a favorite of mine because they do directly mirror the way that our society is run, and they are a writer’s best tool to offering their observations of the world and what they see wrong with it.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi Keisha, I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes we just need to sit back and looks at reflections of society rather than trying to analyse society up-close and personally

    • Osvaldo

      What I find so intriguing is that they use the elements of our world to help build upon theirs. Not just that, but the authors showed their world beliefs through these novels. An example of this would be George Orwell’s 1984. During the time of this novel’s creation, war was very frequent, and what did he do in 1984? Use war as a type of method to keep the citizens of Oceania peaceful.

  11. Excellent article – I’m yet to read Divergent but it sounds fascinating, and I agree that all the others are great dystopian texts. Sad not to see Brave New World on the list, as it seems to be one of the dystopian texts which is closest to our current society. I also agree with the previous comments mentioning Oryx and Crake and The Road – two of the best modern dystopias in my opinion! It’s fascinating to see how the fears which dystopian texts focus on have evolved alongside the societies they reflect. Texts like V for Vendetta, Watchmen and Where the Wind Blows (all in written in the 80s) all focus on nuclear apocalypse, whereas these days the focus is far more environmental.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hi there. Oh please do read Divergent, it definitely is eye-opening. I’m sorry, I haven’t actually read Brave New World but from that recommendation, I’ll be sure to give it a try. Indeed, tracking dystopias through the century, I could clearly see how a human-interactive focus changed to an environmental one as well, which I found interesting

  12. Shane Mendez

    I like that The Hunger Games united mature, die-hard readers and young readers. Your essay has good examples of the dystopian mirror. I would recommend Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as another dark mirror. Great writers offer the best take on the worst aspects of culture. What makes Handmaid’s Tale so unique is its unconventional first person narrative and ending.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hey Shane, a lot of people have been promoting this Handmaid’s Tale. From what I hear, I think I missed a fascinating book to analyse in this article!

      • Sarah L

        I also agree that great writers have the worst aspects on culture and can relate to the world through their writing. The Hunger games is a great example on that because it promoted kids to fight to the death and was a dystopian that believed its society was perfect when it was very flawed. Also how you suggested a book that has creativity and a an understanding on how the world is.

  13. I have read all of these books and I agree with the mirrored symbolism that stems from these dystopian worlds and into our own. I also think that you point out those realities in today’s world as well as past times. Perhaps it is easier for us to see how it relates to the severity of our condition as the human race but for many young adults that read The Hunger Games or Divergent, it doesn’t even begin to symbolize that reality. I think these books are great if they could be grasped on all age levels for their meaning and input in our lives. I really do enjoy reading dystopian literature because it does foreshadow and warn us of our own capable demise if we don’t wake up and change.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      Hey there and thank you for sharing your opinion! I think it’s sad the amount of fanfare that circulates around the Hunger Games and yet not many realise how symbolic it is for society today. I’m glad you share my opinion on how inspirational these dystopian futures can be to make a change in the present to avoid them later on.

  14. flintysteph

    Great article 🙂 I think that literature always offers a unique perspective on the world around us. Dystopian narratives are definitely at the forefront, but what I love so much about lit is that it approaches social critique and discussion from so many different angles. I think it’s important to keep these warnings and discussion points in mind, and to learn from what they are pointing out to hopefully be all the better for it.

    • Emily Lighezzolo

      I couldn’t agree more and thanks for sharing your opinion. The beauty of literature is not the literal words, but the social messages and critique that is hidden under the letters

  15. H. M. Bradford

    Great selection! I especially appreciate the engagement with 1984 on a level besides obsession with surveillance. During the recent NSA exposes, Orwell kept coming up, and it was shocking to see the meta-relevance of the book’s only being read for governmental oppression. Dystopias mirror their societies, and it’s also fascinating to me the way people read dystopias differently based on their current circumstances. That’s true of literature generally, I suppose.
    Another I’d add to the list is Feed, by M. T. Anderson.

  16. John Nelson

    In a great dystopian novel you see the road signs of your own society that may lead to destruction. Dystpoia at its heart is a commentary on our present society masked in a fantasy dystopia. Good sci-fi also uses this formula. In my novel Against Nature I used a global pandemic as the catalyst for an emerging dystopian society, but much of the ingredients are from contemporary events. In Against Nature we have a society already polarized along political divides. We have a Social Darwinist (Tea Party style) government ruling from Washington. To add in some real post- 9/11 spice we have secret prisons, torture and domestic spying.
    The headlines can provide great source material for a modern day dystopia…just add in some imagination.

  17. Sarah L

    A dystopia is when the rulers of the land are the only power and the people are convinced that they are living in a perfect society but in fact it is far from perfect. They are forced to believe that everything is running smoothly but it is the exact opposite. In 1984 everyone thought life was perfect even though they were living in awful conditions. When somebody would commit “thought crime” or any crime they were killed. So people lived in fear of the party. Also in a dystopia it is falling apart and war is used to scare and control life. Power is a big part of the society.

    • Sabrina N

      I agree with this! 1984 is an amazing example of a dystopian world. What’s also interesting to think about is since these books really relates and compares to how the world is, does that mean we are living in a dystopian world to and we don’t know it? For all we know we are just as clueless as the Proles, except there is the few of us that are aware of the bad government and we are people like Winston, who are aware but aren’t going to do anything BIG to change the way things are.

  18. Osvaldo

    I think it is very interesting how these dystopian novels can mirror our own society so closely! All of the novels mentioned in this article share some attribute to our society. In terms of Fahrenheit 451, it’s our current obsession with technology and making things much easier than they should be. When referring to The Hunger Games, it’s our adolescents being divided into specific groups or “factions”. Next to being interested, I thought it was somewhat scary as well, because we are able to recognize the flaws of our world and use them to help create another. But what I don’t seem to understand is this: How is it that we understand what our society is doing wrong, but no one is really trying to change it?

    • Brian Crutchfield

      I feel exactly the same Osvaldo. its like we all know its happing but we all don’t want to change because basically ignorance is bliss. we feel that why change something when its not really a problem but it is.

    • Savanna Toce

      I agree with Osvaldo completely. It is interesting yet scary that our society could be so closely related to books that are meant for our entertainment. It is also scary that even though people read these books and know that we are like them, they don’t do anything about it. Our society has been this way for years, dividing ourselves into cliques, relying on technology to do our work for us, and brainwashing people into thinking what they are doing is right when it isn’t right at all. People always complain about how bad our society is but, as Osvaldo said, no one is doing anything to change it and honestly, I don’t think they are going to. People are so used to the way the world is and if things change, even if they are for the better, people won’t like it.

    • Sergio Salvador

      I agree with Osvaldo because we are like the societies in the books mentioned on the article. Our society is bad and I don’t think we can fix if we keep on only caring about ourselves. That is the answer to Osvaldo’s question. No one does anything because no one cares about others or about the society. Everything is fine to us as long as we are fine. We don’t care about anything else.

    • Patricia

      I agree with you because I think that we read these book because we can see how much it reflects our own society and how we as people separate our selves into different groups.

    • Ms.Primavera

      I think the more important idea to take from The Hunger Games is the hierarchy of the society. The wealthy class known as “The Capitol” (if I remember correctly) are corrupt psychopaths that see us as pawns on a chessboard…..

  19. D.Wurtz

    I think that dystopian worlds are showing us the future of the real world society because our world is full of technology and the technology is capturing our minds and making us all mindless “zombies”

  20. Brian Crutchfield

    I think that it is amazing how closely our society mirrors these dystopian books. In all the novels each story is just a slightly different world than the world we live in now. For example in Veronica Roth’s Divergent the author divides the citizen’s into groups like fraternities, but they spend theirs lives together, this relates to our society because people separate themselves into groups naturally. they tend to spend time with people who they feel are the same so as a nation we divide ourselves by choice. Another book that I felt was crucially important was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, I feel this way because he vividly captured the way that our society is today in his novel. Ray wrote in his story all the things that people do like he wrote about the seashells in the ears which are just ear buds, or how people don’t pay attention while driving and how people are addicted to technology like TV’s and cell phones. my reaction to this was worried because in our society we are beginning to have more and more technology. For example cars, cars today are beginning to become self driven and making the driver do less and less so it would give the driver more time to text or sleep or watch TV. My question for you would be, why are more and more people starting to enjoy these books and novels and not realizing that it’s really just the same story being told over and over and that story is about us?

    • Ms.Primavera

      Good point Brian. Maybe people don’t realize it’s the same story and the story is about us because they don’t have what Faber said was #2 of the three things missing from their society: the leisure to digest the quality of information (that they don’t access) because they are too busy being entertained and “happy.”

  21. Savanna Toce

    I think it was really interesting how the author managed to show readers how alike our society is to all of those dystopian books. The comparisons she used were really accurate such as comparing the cliques that are seen in our society all the time to the different factions in Divergent. The comparison to The Hunger Games is also really interesting because it’s true, child soldiers are just like the characters in the book. They go out and kill people because they are told to and they are so young so they don’t know any better. The Hunger Games comparison is also really accurate because today everyone is so caught up in being what society thinks is physically attractive and will take extreme measures just to get to that point and the people in the Capitol all wear extreme amounts of makeup so they can look good. This article really opened my eyes to how our society is like a lot of books because I have never really thought about it until now. Also, I agree with the author that the reason people love reading these books so much is because they relate to our society in so many different ways.

    • Liam Carden

      This article helped me to see the similarity’s between our society’s and The Hunger Games society’s warped views on beauty. I agree with Savanna on how enlightening this article was. I also agree that these books are attractive to readers because they mirror our society. I feel that dystopian novels are especially attractive to teens because they sympathize with the trials and tribulations that teenagers experience during school. For example the author mentioned how Divergent illustrates the fear of fitting in and the persecution that follows.

  22. Sergio Salvador

    I agree with everything the article says about our society being like the societies in the books mention. We are like the society in 1984 because we are control by the government like the Party controls the people of Oceania. We believe everything we are told and we do everything we are told to do. We don’t know if what we are told about the outside world is true. We are also like the society of Fahrenheit 451 because we let technology control our life. What I mean is that we spend to much time with technology. People are always on their phones playing games or texting and we don’t make conversations with other people. We are entertained by the things on TV and we believe everything on TV. My point is that our society is kind of bad. Just like the societies on the books I mentioned. Some people ask why we don’t do something to change our society? I believe the answer to that is that we don’t do anything because we don’t really care about what is going on in our society. All we care about is ourselves.

    • Alejandro Meza

      This is very true our society should and could be a lot better but as long as people seek power and people remain ignorant to this problem our society will never change.

  23. Stephen Varnum

    I think the article was good. I thought the comparison of Divergent to real life is almost right on. In the article It said that Divergent is like todays society but I think that it more reflects teenage society.

    • I agree with you steve

    • Bailey Caminati

      I think Stephen Varnum is completely correct they do a great job at showing how its mostly on teenage society and tells us how it will get only worse from here.

  24. Liam Carden

    This article gave me another view on the themes of dystopian novels such as the Hunger Games and Divergent. Originally I was unimpressed with both books but this article made me think twice. All dystopian novels highlight the flaws and failures of our society however it is ironic that up until now I have never realized how similar these societies are to our own.
    One thing I particularly enjoyed was when the author was describing Divergent she linked it to a high school social structure. Personally, I believe that socially we never leave high school. We are always divided by our beliefs, our choices of entertainment, even food divides our society into many different sects. In America where everyone is free to be different it is ironic that we should all be united when almost every element of our society divides us.

    • Oralee Collazo

      I agree Liam. As we were reading each novel, I did not realize the actual message behind each story. After reading this article, I can understand why all the societies were so cruel, unfair, and depressing. Cruel and unfair are two words that can describe our own society perfectly. You are right about us not leaving high school on a social level because of things we believe in and the way we act. It’s scary to understand these novels mirror our OWN society.

  25. Oralee Collazo

    It’s amazing how much each dystopian novel mirrors our own society. Veronica Roth’s Divergent shows how a society can be divided into different cliques due to the way we act and what we believe in. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games illustrates how children are being used as soldiers and the extreme measures some are willing to take just to look better. As we all know, technology controls our lives because we spend so much time on our phones, watching TV, and playing video games. We can see this in Fahrenheit 451. Not only do we spend most of our time using technology but we also believe anything we are told without questioning. Even though the situations in each novel are different, I couldn’t agree more that the stories are the unique perspectives of what the authors really see our society as.

    • I feel like you explained and compared these novels to real life pretty good.

    • I agree with you because it really is cool how you can see our own society in the novels and maybe even think that this really could be our society in a few years because of the “Tech takeover”.

    • Rose-Marie

      Very real in relation with The Hunger Games with child soldiers!

    • I agree. The way the author compared modern day high school students to the factions in Divergent was really an eye-opener on how similar we might be, regardless of what people think. Also, the way Suzanne Collins formed the people of the Capitol really shows how people will do anything to achieve “beauty” as you mentioned before.

  26. I’ve only read the 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 but I find it interesting how in both of these novels the societies are surprisingly similar to ours. In Fahrenheit all the people mostly care about themselves which is how a lot of people are today and they are all addicted to the technologies like most people are today.In 1984 the social class is based on power. The of the pyramid is Big Brother, then the Inner Party, Outer Party, and the Proles on the bottom. In our society our social pyramid is based on wealth. The top of the pyramid in my opinion is the rich, government, middle class, and the lower class.

  27. Sabrina N

    I’ve read all of these books, and I think it’s crazy how accurate this article is, and how accurate the comparisons are. I never really thought about what she said about the factions in Divergent, and how they’re so alike to school cliques or groups. I always thought it was portraying the fact that there are only certain job fields you can go into that will be successful. I also thought it was really interesting how she compared the Capitol in Hunger Games to America, and the Districts as other third world countries. I never really saw that book, or any of these books even, as a reflection of what’s going on in our world right now. They seemed like more of a future prediction type book, or a made up world, up until now.

    But honestly, I really wonder what the author’s real intention of the books were. Were they to predict the future, show us what’s going on right now (but in a different way), or were they just making up a world and story to write a book about? Are we thinking to hard about it?

    • Amanda A

      I also agree with you Sabrina. Sadly after reading these books, we actually don’t see how they are mirrored until you pay attention to the close details… which most of us are bad at unless forced to. Honestly we are so self absorbed and so concentrated on the latest trends that we tend to not even see things hitting us in the face! I totally agree that we really don’t see it. We read them and think how terrible a society like that is, but really that’s what we are living in. It makes you wonder if there really was something better back then or was it the same society but they never saw it as the novels show. It is definitely something that makes you wonder and question it once you really pay attention to the world.

      • I completely agree with you. Wanna know one of the sad parts? Even when we do notice, we don’t do anything about it to fix it.

  28. Rose-Marie

    Sabrina has a good point in regards to the way Divergents factions can resemble school cliques. One could say this is but a small note to be made that may also be very vage but one could continue to make the comparisons with each idea that the distopian books offer to us. Can we really conclude that in Veronica Roth’s books the Divergent serries that she is some future predicting master mind along with the other writters of distopian novels such as Fahrenheit 451, Anthem, Hunger Games, Uglies, and 1984 or are they mearly creating a book in the scope of what we love to read? “Are we thinking to hard about it?” (Sabrina N). I think that anything can be over thought and that can drive someone insane because really how much is there that you can do besides think more? Maybe instead of these books being so called “predictions of the future” they are just author s having a good wide understanding of what their audience will quickly consume. The world is all about money and trying to put do the next.

    • I agree rose, it is funny how in schools and around us, they offer books to read and we don’t realize that these books they mention in this article is that they are all dystopian.

    • true

    • I have always wondered if the symbolism in book/movies was intended or was just an accident that the readers mistook? the authors may have just had some fun.

    • I have always wondered if the symbolism in book/movies was intended or was just an accident that the readers mistook? The authors may have just had some fun. For example what if the glass paper weight from the book 1984 wasn’t a deep feeling that was left in winston psyche for the rest of his life it could just be a cheap paper weight that the author put in there cause he was bored.

  29. Bailey Caminati

    This article really made me think about how our society really is and how bad its getting and these books are perfect at showing people that cant see that its bad. I think Sabrina had a thought that makes you think “Were they to predict the future, or just make up a world to write about.” It makes you think what they were going for maybe they made it up and its just happen to play out the same way the book was written out to be. Or just maybe to wright how they see the world and was afraid of it and right to try to per-sway people to watch there actions and how not to end that up that way.

    • low key

      Bailey, your such a flaming fa****, this is total bs, you and i totally dont know that this is true.

  30. I feel that this article is completely true. We don’t realize that we live in a world, in a society were it’s divided in such way as in divergent. Factions is where we live in, in other words, we see that there is different types of people in our society as in divergent they choose what faction, or a type a way to live in. It’s like what Sabrina said, I also read all these books and it is completely true. We are living in moments of hunger, poverty, were the “inner part” wants to take control of everybody’s way of thinking.

  31. Amanda A

    This article really spoke to me and made me realize how similar the societies in the books mentioned are just like ours. So many people are concerned with themselves, technology, and even other people’s lives and what they do to realize the world is slowly going down hill. People always ask, “why can’t we change the world,” when in reality you can’t. For so many years it has slowly crept down to a society where not only a few, but every is ignorant. In both Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, the main point showed how the world was twisting and turning but only a few saw, and only a few actually said something. Unfortunately at that point it was too late. It’s sad that we live in a world where we are oblivious to what is actually happening. People are either glued to their phones, or they are worried about their looks and how to impress someone… just like Mildred.

    • Davionne

      I couldn’t agree more with your Amanda you used very good examples and explained this better than I can .

  32. Stephen Varnum

    I agree with Dayton because smartphones are getting smarter and doing more things. Since we are doing less work we are learning how to do less things that would normally make us smarter. It seems that the more technology does for people, the less people have to do for themselves.

  33. Davionne

    I have always felt that these books that we read are a mirror to our society we are living in today.Also I feel that into this comparison Fahrenheit 451 should have been included into this that book was written a very long time ago and he even felt that one day the societies would get a thrill out of watching kids or adults in general fight on tv just for amusement. All of these this things are adding up and to most people it is confusing but for those of us that pay attention it is not a surprise.

  34. I’ve read all of these books except for George Orwell’s 1984. I have never thought of these dystopian society’s being anything like our society until I read this article. It was very informative towards how our society is like theirs, it says, ” We read about the Capitol, (Collins’ metaphoric USA), eating their cuisine as they sit passively and watch children fight for survival, without lifting a helping hand.” This quote is stating that in the Hunger Games, the people of the capitol are more entitled than anyone else, just like in our society we have the entitled and under entitled.

    • How much I agree I can’t even say! Our society is based on who has money and who doesn’t. The people around us judge us on what wear and where we get it. Marten Luther King Jr. gave a speech on how he had a dream that one day we would all be equal. Why cant we all be equal? I don’t mean in the sense that we all have the same clothes and think exactly the same way. But in the sense that we look at each other the same way but not black and white.

  35. Gamaliel

    I like this article, It makes such a strong connection to our lives, it makes you think about our society. Even though the authors of the books didn’t have the power to know the future they still knew what was going to happen. The Connection to our lives and Fahrenheit 451 really is like a mirror image.

    • I agree with Gamaliel because we cannot predict aware future so we go on aware human nature to go with aware life’s and hope for the best to come.

    • I agree with what Gamaliel is saying I think that Fahrenheit 451 is a mirror image of us maybe not now but back before WWII. Look at how it started what did Hitler do he disarmed people, he burned books, and he killed off who he thought was weak or anyone he didn’t see fit to live in his society. Which after that you have to ask yourself what kind of society would we live in if no one apposed him would society be a big group of sheep that didn’t know anything other then to follow and obey?

  36. I have read most of these books, and as I read them I can literally see our civilizations reflection. It’s amazing how much these books represent us. Whether you realize it or not we live in a dystopian society. I think that authors like Ray Bradbury wrote these books in hopes that our society wouldn’t come to that.
    “Today, the communities teenagers live in have established their factions and we find ourselves pressured to fit into one”. This quote just about sums up a teenagers life. We all feel the need to fit in somewhere. Even if that means changing who we really are inside.
    In Fahrenheit 451 Mildred (let alone anyone) had the ability to think for themselves. They had the mental capacity to retain informations as a goldfish. They lived in a world where watching a TV screen with your neighbors is considered a ‘conversation’.
    Now going back to what I said earlier, our society has come to what Ray Bradbury didn’t want it to.

    • I like the way you fit the quotation into your comment. I also couldn’t agree more with the quote you picked. Teenagers now try to fit in so much because when we don’t we get excluded.

    • Ashley Torres

      what you said was right I think that we have to work as a unite and not make our community come to an end by us not caring for anything beside our phones and what is going on social media we have to work together.

  37. When you read this article you think about the books that you have read and you can relate them to not only the books in this article but the article itself. This article shows the problems in our society but it also shows the solution to a lot of problems in society to. In all these books is a dystopian society but usually in the ending somewhere things start to resolve. So the question is why do read these kind of books? I think the answer is because most of the time we know there might be a good ending and who doesn’t like a story where a small person or group can over come a government and fight back and resist just about everyone has a like bit of rebel in them and when they read these books rebelling is all they see and they can not relate but think about how they would react in a society like the ones in the books.

    • Gamaliel

      I agree with you we do read these books to see the main character overcome some unstoppable force. That’s what hooks us to these types of books. I know when I read Fahrenheit 451 I was constantly thinking what I would of done in Guy Montag’s situation.

      • Gamaliel alejandro

        I agree with you we do read these books to see the main character overcome some unstoppable force. That’s what hooks us to these types of books. I know when I read Fahrenheit 451 I was constantly thinking what I would of done in Guy Montag’s situation.

      • Gamaliel alejandro

        I like this article, It makes such a strong connection to our lives, it makes you think about our society. Even though the authors of the books didn’t have the power to know the future they still knew what was going to happen. The Connection to our lives and Fahrenheit 451 really is like a mirror image.

  38. I have felt that the way the book are written were a way to foreshadowing aware way of life from the past to the future. But the books also show us how we cant live with out technology and that we are getting more obsessive of aware new age technology. the more we use technology we are losing more knowledge every day in about a month of using technology we could loss about one year of knowledge that we used to know.

  39. Ashley Torres

    I think the book Fahrenheit 451 was an eye opener to our society today. I think that the person who wrote this book had a really good estimate of what was going to happen in our world today. I think that we live around with only electronic and we have no freedom of our mine. I feel when he wrote that we are going to basically base our life around our phones and television and not want to do any thing else he was right. When I was talking to my teacher we notice that things that happen there are possibly going to happen here it seems like a big cycle and we don’t even notice that we are the one that is distorting things. I can input when people say the world is going to end, its not the world that going to exploded us; we are the ones that going to exploded the world with our greed.

  40. Mario.A

    This article is excellent, it explains a lot of society relates to a lot to the books that are mentioned. How people don’t like to accept others because they are different. We are not carrying of the important things of like family, knowledge and our society. We are only carrying only about ourselves and that can slowly kill our society, for example in both Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 the point is almost the same. How society can slowly die if we only worry about ourselves and if we have no knowledge.

    • Cristian J

      Mario I couldn’t say it any better. For real we are all worried about ourselves and the actions that we make can make a change and were not doing the effort to make a change.

  41. Luis Quintana

    This article indicates the similarity between the novels and our societies today. It’s like looking in a metaphorical mirror and seeing our reflection. Our people nowadays are more worried about fitting in or fitting with the vibe that everyone’s in and they put down anyone else who are not like them. This is where the similarity with Divergent comes in. Everyone is in different groups that go by a specific way to fit in.

    • Mario.A

      I Agree a lot with you Luis, That is very true what you said of how their is a mirror between our society and and the books that are mentioned in this article. A lot of things that are bad with society are mentioned in the books.

    • tanner evans

      yeah lu i agree with your comment. The similarities between the dystopian societies and ours are pretty similar, especially when the way technology is moving.

  42. Cristian J

    This articles made me feel some type of way and how we are looking at are own reflection. Its not surprising how we’re all ending up technology has ruined us all. Ya , technology has helped us in some ways but it also has its errors. People are acting like its all technology fault when its also the people around us. Are society is going to end up the same way as the books if we don’t make a change but as you can see no one is doing the effort of making a change. In Fahrenheit 451 we can all relate to that book how everyone is being brainwashed on everything that’s on TV. All these books show are problems and the consequence that could happen if we don’t make a change. This world is all about technology.

  43. I agree with what the article says about our society being like the societies in the books mention. We are like the society in 1984 because we are control by the government like the Party controls the people of Oceania. We believe what we are told and we do everything we are told to do. We are also like the society of Fahrenheit 451 because we let technology controls are life. People are always on their tablets, phones, or playing video games. Conversations with other people are slim. We are entertained by what’s on a screen. My point is that our society is in a bad generation of too much technology. We are similar to Fahrenheit 451, always watching a screen. Our society is constantly relying on technology to get us through the day. If we want a change, it starts with ourselves.

    • Luis Quintana

      I agree with your comment because technology is taking over. 90% of the time we see someone walking down our school hallways with their face stuck in on there screen. It’s like technology is the new drug, it’s an addiction.

    • Carl Roy

      I agree with your comment that we are letting technology control our lives and we too easily believe what we are told as the truth. Like in George Orwell’s 1984, “the past was erased, the erasure forgotten, the lie became truth.” This means the more we hear the same lie, the more we believe it to be the truth. We have let ourselves be brainwashed by government and technology.

  44. Corvette Jake

    The books where good. They reflect our society. They show that our society is controlled by technology and even though Fahrenheit 451 was written 20 years ago, it was an accurate prediction. Even though we know that Technology controls us, we continuously make decisions that continue this cycle.

  45. Patricia

    I agree with the article because it shows how much our society is like the ones in the books.Our society is a lot like 1984 because most people do believe what the Government says. And that the Government does make a lot of the rules that we have to follow.

  46. I actually enjoyed reading this article and it made me realize how similar the dystopian societies are to our own. The part where the author highlighted the different factions and compared them to high school was very intriguing. It makes sense. The candor were compared to the know-it-all students of the school. They’re the ones who gossip and were said to be the “Plastics”. Also, the dauntless were compared to students who mostly don’t care about grades and just want to have a good time and “let loose” which is a very accurate representation. This article lead me to believe that we might not be so different from what we’re trying to stray from: a dystopian society.

  47. It is saddening to say that this article is highly accurate to today. The control technology has on us, how we separate ourselves into factions, etc.. Even though we are shown the reflection of our society and our flaws, we haven’t taken a step to stop it and change it around. I really do not have to say much because everyone else already said what was needed.

    • Courtney

      You have a good point, most of us know exactly what is wrong and we don’t care. We live our lives as if nothing is wrong.

  48. Alejandro Meza

    I think that this article shows how the societies in these books reflect or mirror the societies that we live in and around the world today. I like the way that the article refers to George Orwell’s 1984 by using quotes from the book and using those quotes to compare the society of 1984 is ran and how they treat their prisoners or people that break the rules to that of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Also how the article references Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and how the censorship happens there by the burning of the books and how they put only what they want on the tv. Which is similar to us because the government only puts things on tv to be able to distract and “brain wash” us with shows that they want us to watch. So like Fahrenheit 451 the government controls and censors us in as many ways as possible.

  49. Joshua Wolf

    This article truly makes you comes to your senses when you think about dystopian societies compared to our society today. We are practically living in a dystopian society today. Each story gives an idea that applies to our world today. In Veronica Roth’s Divergent, it is human nature to divide ourselves into groups where we are the same and from that group, we develop the feeling of acceptance which everyone longs for. In George Orwell’s 1984, their society isn’t the only one that accepts the idea of doublethink. We don’t necessarily notice it as easily, but we do have doublethink in our world. Private property can be looked at as doublethink. People own land, cars, houses, etc. and we call that our private property. Yet we pay taxes on these items and if we don’t, they get taken away. That doesn’t really sound like we own the property, does it? In Ray Bradbury’s F451, the idea it presents that we are becoming less intelligent as we advance in technology is extremely accurate. Yes, we are discovering amazing technology that assists us in our lives, but we are losing many skills we should know without assistance. One example in where we are losing skillsets is mathematics. Most people should be able to do eleven times eleven without a calculator, but I’m sure one person reading this might not know the answer off the top of their head. Sadly, we are losing our intelligence as time goes on and it will lead us into a dark place that will replicate this novel. Finally, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games is an example of how desperate we will become (or have already become) for the survival of the hierarchy set up. The Capital in the Hunger Games obviously is the one percent in our world today. If they believe that they will lose their power to the lower classes (if that’s even possible), they will most likely go to the measures such as the Hunger Games. Our society can fall farther than it already has and hopefully, these novels will start to shed some light to stop that.

    • Sierra Burke

      I agree with josh, I think that this article and these books really do make you come to your senses about the lives we live. The books are a huge wake up call to society, foreshadowing what our society have or will become. As you look back you realize that over the years we have become more and more like what we read about in these books.

  50. Sierra Burke

    I think that it is interesting, yet scary how much the society’s in these dystopian stories reflect the society we live in. In Veronica Roths Divergent we see an exact reflection of our society in ways of dividing ourselves. We try so hard to fit in to a “clique” or group of people who have similar interests and values. You also see how quickly a person can be excluded from a group because of something they feel or believe. These books put the scary truth behind reality. But I’m not entirely sure what’s more scary, the fact that it reflects our society or the fact that people know it reflects our society and no one does a single thing about it. You also see that problem in George Owells 1984. Winston and few others realize that the society isn’t as perfect as they think but no one does anything big enough to change it. The sad truth is that whether we see it or not we live in a society that directly mirrors these dystopian societys in these books. Are your “perfect” lives and society’s really all that perfect?

    • Joshua Wolf

      Sierra has a really good point. We are all commenting on this article saying all these ideas on how we’re living in a dystopian society, but none of us have a single idea on how to make a change. It’s just like Sierra said, Winston realized the way the society is, but won’t make a change. It’s a sad fact that none of us can take a single step.

  51. Courtney

    The author made the point of comparing teens to the factions of Divergent, and I have to agree they make a good point.

    • Courtney

      To elaborate: The fact that the Erudite would be the smart kids who would rather be on their electronics and trying to learn instead of talking to others. When I read Divergent I remember thinking “Yea, I’d be in Erudite,” I want to learn, and I am that nerdy kid that would rather be playing video games.

  52. I never thought about it like that before the author made some great comparisons.

  53. tanner evans

    I agree with what the article says about our society being like the societies in the books mention. We believe what we are told and we do everything we are told to do. We are also like the society of Fahrenheit 451 because we let technology control are life. People are always on their tablets, phones, or playing video games. Conversations with other people are slim. We are entertained by what’s on a screen. My point is that our society is in a bad generation of too much technology. We are similar to Fahrenheit 451, always watching a screen. Our society is constantly relying on technology to get us through the day. If we want a change, it starts with ourselves.

  54. Carl Roy

    I found it somewhat surprising and scary how similar the dystopian societies in the article are to our current society. It is like looking in a mirror. In Roth’s Divergent, we see that all teenagers are put into groups and are expected to fit a mold, whether it’s the brainy Erudites or the thrill-seeking Dauntless. In our world today, we are all too afraid to be different, and will change the way we think to fit into a group. We give up much of our individual thinking. This is also seen in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. There is too much technology and people count on what they see and hear to tell them how to think and react. People don’t talk to each other; they just watch their screens. We do the same thing today. Everyone is glued to their phones and ipads to hear what the latest ideas are and what we should be doing. The worst part, in my opinion, is that we are all aware that we are doing it, but no one does anything to stop it. We all keep following along, and until someone stands up and stops it, it will only get worse.

  55. Carl Roy

    I find it both surprising and scary how similar the dystopian societies in the article are to our current society. In Roth’s Divergent, all teenagers fir into a group, whether it be the brainy Erudites or the thrill-seeking Dauntless. We are the same in our society – we feel pressured to be like everyone else and “fit in”. So, we end up changing our thoughts to be like others. This can also be seen in Fahrenheit 451, where everyone conforms to what society tells them. In this book, the world is so driven by technology, people don’t see the world around them. We are similar today in that we are always looking at our phones and ipads that we don’t speak to each other or even notice what’s going on around us. I think the worst part is that we all see it happening, but don’t do anything to change it. And until someone takes a stand to make it stop, it will keep getting worse.

  56. Darian Torres

    Hello. I find that the content found in these books is similar to what we find in today’s society. In Divergent teenagers are forced into choosing a group much like how we form our clicks. In Fahrenheit 451 the world is driven by technology much like how today having a cellphone or television is a necessity. Whether we see it or not the distopian society’s depicted in these bestselling books mirror our society in more ways then we realize.

  57. Jake Allen

    Yeah I agree. The books are similar to what we find in today’s society. People are addicted to technology and it does make dystopian more of a reality

  58. Olivia P

    I haven’t read Divergent or The Hunger Games, But I have read 1984 as well as Fahrenheit 451 and I feel like these novels depict a very dystopian society similar to our own. For example, in 1984, The Thought Police constantly monitor the thoughts and actions of the citizens of Oceania ensuring that they are loyal to The Party and Big Brother, America’s police are constantly monitoring us to ensure we follow the (sometimes obscure) laws and are “politically correct”. In this way both the people of Oceania and of America have learned to mask their emotion and eventually lose all human emotion. The only thing that seems to be separating America from Oceania is human empathy. This article brings to light many similarities in which our society is falling into dystopia, however it seems as if we are all too consumed in ourselves to do anything about it.

  59. Olivia P

    I don’t know how to comment on Jake Allen’s comment but I am commenting on his: Agreed. If Artificial Intelligence (AI) somehow were to take over the world and enslave the human population, the Amish people would be so mad.

  60. nikka wang

    Thoughtful commentary . Talking of which , if your company has been needing to merge PDF or PNG files , my business partner found post here

  61. Rick Rolled

    Het guys:) I didnt enjoy thissssss. At all!!!!!!!!! Just Atrocious!!!!!!!!!

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