By Margaret Atwood
This story is based around a dystopian world, in which women are used simply for their ability to give birth. Women are constricted to a home with several other women, all in the hopes that they may have a child. For in this society, having a child was considered to be the most respected position for a woman. The main character of this novel, is conflicted between betraying the society or completely leaving behind the slightest glimpse of freedom she has. This story projects the independence of a woman, as well as her ability to break societal norms with pure confidence.
I personally really enjoyed this novel, as it portrayed a restricted, dystopian world. Along with this aspect, the main character is placed in a position in which whatever decision she made, was publicly judged. With that being said, the main character breaks away from every societal normal to find what suits her desires most. However, breaking societal norms is seen as basically breaking the law. This leaves the main character with a scenario, in which, she prioritizes her own needs and desires before anyone else, this being the first and most dramatic way of doing so.
This novel, leaves the audience in suspense and anticipation, as it is an open-ended conclusion. It is written from a point of view that makes it nearly impossible to ignore. It is particularly compelling due to the fact that the author is able to make connections between modern day society and this dystopian-world stance on society. The readers are able to make connections and assumptions based off of how it made them feel. It is broken down in a way that is not seen as overly graphic or harsh, but is seen as a fierce break for freedom. Seeing as the chapters were shorter than typical novels, it encourages the reader to continue through the story.
By Amor Towles
This story is revolved around the idea of independence and it is portrayed in a manner that specifically glorifies female independence. A young lady, living in New York City, is confronted with praise and contradictions as she hesitates over her own independence and societal opinions/standards. The author portrays this character in a way that allows the audience to see her grow internally. Rather than focusing on what she doesn’t have, she simply focuses on what she knows she is capable of.
I regarded this novel as incredibly empowering as it discarded patriarchal views and praised the independence of women. Due to the young female characters’ ability to stand out as a representation of independence, she receives the attention and respect of many.
Though her friends are seemingly jealous of her demeanor, she receives attention from men who truly respect her, hence why there is so much envy towards her from those closest in her life. However, because of her intimidating demeanor, she finds herself losing people as they were either intimidated, jealous, or felt as though they were undeserving of her attention/friendship.
I, personally, relate incredibly well to this novel, due to the fact that I am thoroughly independent and self-motivated. I take pride in this characteristic, as it has opened up an array of new possibilities for my future. I do not dwell on wordly opinions because I am all for myself and certain of my physical and mental capability.
By George Orwell
This story is based on a dystopian word, with a society organized into a culture that is constantly controlled and watched. The residents of this society, are used to doing the same exact thing everyday while being watched by ‘Big Brother.’ The main character becomes in contact with a fellow resident in the most inconvenient of ways, seeing that they could be given harsh consequences for their relationship towards each other. To escape the control, they try hiding this relationship. However, the places they find so safe, may not be un-monitored as they had believed.
I really enjoyed this book because it was incredibly suspenseful. Though our modern day society is not as obviously controlled/monitored, I cans till find resemblance between both separate societies. Our society is based around order and perfection. People wake up each day and go to school/work for the rest of their lives because this is the “only” way to function in society, without being belittled by other citizens. Seeing that our society is focused on being accepted, this idea is incredibly crucial in comparison of the story’s society and modern day society.
The resemblance of both societies allows the audience to understand the similarities of our modern day society and this dystopian culture. Our society is built around order which is essentially the main idea of this story. Along with the idea that the government does not want original thought. This is an interesting idea that I believe has been sprouted from the influence of modern day culture. Although, the government is not trying to control original thought, society has created a judgemental environment through social media and social gatherings. This making original thought belittled and discouraged, seeing that people have put their center of focus on the perspective that other people have created towards you.
By Vladimir Nabokov
This story is based around the disturbing abduction of a young girl. The main character- Humbert, moves into a home with a middle-aged, single mother with her twelve year old daughter. Humbert finds a pediophilic attraction towards ‘Lolita,’ and since this novel is written from Humberts perspective, he frequently refers to her as a nymphet whom he is sexually, obsessed with. Seeing this book is written from Humberts perspective, it becomes much more controversial, as it is hard to understand the perspective of other characters while they play a role in his obsession with his Lolita.
This was easily my favorite book out of all of the ones I have read so far. This novel is a great example of how the audience may not be able to trust the narrator. From Humbert’s standpoint, he easily twists the confrontations between him and Lolita to allow beneficial beliefs on his part. His tone is one that suggests he is not fully responsible for the scenarios that occur between him and Lolita. He pushes his focus towards Lolita’s attitude and creates her character to seem more submissive than what is blatantly controversial to her role as a twelve year old.
The story is written in a sophisticated style, making it more difficult to stay focused on the perspective of the young girl. Once the style of writing is understood more clearly, it becomes apparent to the audience that Humbert is writing in a way that benefits his character. Obviously, a twelve year old girl is not going to be as openly submissive as Humbert tries to persuade the audience to believe.
It is rather obvious that Humbert is aware of his disturbing, pediophilic tendencies but he is obsessively, infatuated with Lolita. This making it even more difficult for him to push his pediophilic tendencies aside. It becomes clear to the audience that Humbert is truly, in love with Lolita. However, the presentation of this disturbing love, makes it apparent that it will not prosper spiritually or physically, as Lolita begins to mature.
By Jennifer Niven
This story is ultimately, a tragic love story. Finch is a fairly mentally distraught high school kid who does not necessarily understand the idea of “self-care.” He does not know how to express his innermost feelings as well as ask from help, as far as mental health. Violet is also a mentally distraught high school kid, ultimately from the idea that her parents are putting so much pressure on her to get over the death of her older sister. Finch and Violet meet at an extremely unordinary place and the circumstances are rather different than most, as far as a typical societal stance. As their relationship grows, Finch finds it harder to control his mental battles. Violet is unaware and begins to understand when Finch draws himself from her with no explanation.
I personally really enjoyed this novel for a few different reasons. The most important being that, this story shows that not every story has a happy ending. I particularly like the idea that the author created the two main characters as people struggling from poor mental health. The only difference is how they acquired poor mental health. The author created Finch in such a unique way that the audience begins to see him as a ‘freak’ but edgy and attractive as well. I love that the two main characters come from completely different backgrounds.
One thing I would critique, is the flow of the story. Although, there is suspense in the back and forth manner between Violet and Finch each chapter, the lack of explanation towards some details, leaves the audience confused yet compelled.