The Trend Towards Dystopia: Divergent Book Review

by Gabbi Fiedor
BHS News

There is and has always been an innate desire in all people, whether young or old, to know the future. That’s So Raven’s success is a firm indicator of this fact.

We yearn as a civilization to reach the uncertain, know the unknown, plod upon un-tread ground. We want to meet destiny; learn her name, her face, her danger, her charm. This personal desire, both daunting and tantalizing, has captivated the mind and imagination of the young. It is from this desire that dystopian literature is born.

As Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, Orwell’s book 1984, and many other legitimate historical events have shown, the problems of the human nature are often not appeased and resolved as time progresses. In fact, our capability to cause destruction appears to have expanded over time. We are following, as a people, a sly, thin line that leads to opportunity and precision but also to oppression and death. We have had trouble reconciling the two in the past, but we face more trouble as people get smarter, machines get faster, and the world gets smaller. We’re scared and fascinated by what is to come. This future, this fate, seems so plausible, so real, and it comes to life in the pages of many young adult novels on the market today.

Divergent numbers among them.

Divergent

This is a novel that has, as of late, compelled the younger generation with its dangerous, futuristic storyline. It is set in a seemingly perfect Chicago society where the qualities of each faction, (amity, candor, abnegation, erudite, and dauntless) govern the citizens and bolster human development. But a dystopian story, according to the Mariam Webster dictionary, must be set in “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” Indeed, such a description defines and even underrates the cruel world in which Tris Prior lives. After undergoing the ritualistic testing that her city has implemented, she discovers that she is Divergent, a title that is vague in its immediate denotation, but clearly dangerous in its implications. She is different but she is strong. And so her journey begins.

This type of storyline has seized the minds of young adult readers and the authors who cater to them. Why is it that such a youthful population is so exceedingly drawn to such a story?

Today’s global youth has been raised in the age of technology. The world that we have for centuries dreamed of reaching has nearly been attained. The fantasy world of monsters and vampires is intriguing still; however, the reality of a dystopian government coming to fruition in our own society may seem, in a twisted way, more relatable, more feasible, more immediate. When these forceful, passionate, vigorous characters (sometimes young men, but more recently young women) take on the subliminal ugliness of their outwardly pristine society, one cannot help but be terrified and inspired at the same time.

I would venture to say that the young adults of my generation understand the truth of humanity more deeply than ever. This is shown in their literary taste as of late.

Humans dream. Humans conquer. Humans destroy. Hence, dystopian writing. Hence Divergent.