Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Does Dystopian YA Lit Stereotype Kids?

Cliques. Are they real, or simply a creation of YA writers and Hollywood directors? It's not surprising to find people sorted into groups in most genres of teen entertainment. In fact, Grace, Ed Rooney's secretary from Ferris Bueller laid it out for us in one classic line:

So, why is it that writers and filmmakers always seek to fit characters into the standard groups that are supposed to make up high school? Is society that cliche? Or are the cliches actually valid, which is why they seem so common. Katy Waldman of Slate Magazine suspects there are significant forces at work in a world where "Everybody Knows Where They Belong." From the Sorting Hat of JK Rowling to Suzanne Collins' Reaping, much of the entertainment for young people is grounded in categorizing people. The latest work Divergent from Catherine Roth is only the latest to follow the archetypal story form.

The studies of societal divisions, especially in regards to high school cliques, are endless. But the question is: are they valid, and what can or should we do about it?

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