The latest trope in young adult fiction is the idea of an all-powerful government figure oppressing the rights of teenagers in a dystopian future; to name only a few of the most famous recent examples of books such as this, you have ‘Divergent’, ‘The Maze Runner’, ‘Red Queen’ (a must read for any fan of Young Adult fantasy) and the one which, supposedly, started it all with it’s release back in 2008 – ’The Hunger Games’. However, with Trump being elected president of the United States of America on the ninth of September, is this dystopian society really only a fictional possibility?
Looking at his proposed policies from his debate speeches, it is reasonable to assume that Donald is going to plunge America further into debt and, perhaps, he’ll eventually end up starting a war with China, Russia, North Korea, Mexico… you get the picture; he could start a war with literally any country other than Canada. At this point, after this small revelation, I’d like to turn your thoughts back to any YA dystopian fiction book you’ve read recently and think about how the societies depicted came to be; ‘The Hunger Games’ – Civil War, ‘The Maze Runner’ – environmental crisis (remember, Donald Trump believes that climate change is a myth perpetrated by the Chinese in an attempt to ruin American businesses), ‘Red Queen’ – drastic social class divides (Donald wants to further cut taxes for the 1%), and Divergent – implied nuclear warfare, as well as one big wall – enough said.
In both ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’, the general public (i.e. anyone who isn’t somehow associated with the omniscient, omnipotent government) is divided into districts or factions, respectively. Surely it isn’t too difficult to imagine this happening soon in America, as I’m sure Donald would have no problems separating people into groups based on their ethnic origin ; he’s already spoken loud and clear about wanting to separate North America from Mexico by a large wall – how long will it be until he gets the idea to build several walls and divide up the people of America based on his racist ideals? How long will it be until factions or districts are established, with a few being seen as “better” than the others by the government/high society – an idea clearly presented in ‘The Hunger Games’.
So, what can we do to prevent America from falling into dystopia? Well in YA fiction, usually a 16/17 year old heroine (who has coincidentally gained a collection of seemingly random life-skills which help to solve every single problem she faces in her attempts to defeat the evil government figurehead) appears to save the day. However, considering most 16/17 year old girls seem to be more interested in keeping their eyebrows “on fleek” than learning professional archery or several forms of close-range fighting techniques (and the fact that they’ll no doubt have to choose between two bland, boring, completely unnecessary white boys who are utterly irrelevant to the plot – sorry, I mean the future of America) I’m not convinced. I would offer to save the world myself, of course, but you never read books about a girl saving the world with a laptop or several heavy books, funnily enough, so I’ll have to pass.
So, dystopian future vs dystopian present – fiction vs reality – will the two blend into one during Donald’s reign? Only time will tell.