Category Archives: Art and entertainment

The Divergent dystopia

Dystopia isn’t really my favorite genre, but I can easily name ones that I like. What I definitely don’t like, however, is a dystopia that seems to forget it’s a dystopia halfway through.

(Contains spoilers for Divergent. Based solely on the first book.)

Now, let me start with the premise of Divergent. The implausible origin story believed by the people of Chicago is basically that after a big war, everyone suddenly forgot that cultures, religions, and nations can cause people to do things against their nature, and instead decided that the only cause of evil that they needed to worry about was flaws in human nature itself. And they divided into five factions that each blamed just one specific flaw; each faction devoted itself to the virtue opposite that flaw, again to the exclusion of all else. But children born into one faction are allowed to choose another when they turn 16.

So this isn’t the kind of dystopia that’s based on an exaggeration of current trends. (In reality, there is more criticism of ideas and organizations and less of human nature than there was in the past.) This in itself doesn’t necessarily make it a bad story, but I’m having trouble thinking of a dystopia that’s less socially relevant.

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