There’s a place for everything and everyone, you know. That is the mistake they make[…]They think that only certain people have a place. Only certain kinds of people belong. The rest is waste.
~ Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
I’ve been reading a lot lately (which is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting much- all my free time has gone to reading instead of crafting!). I started with some Orson Scott Card that J bought me for Valentine’s day but still need to order the book that was missing from the Alvin Maker series at the book store (OSC needs to get with it and stop being so stuck up about e-books =). So, I moved on to the Hunger Games and from there it’s been more sci-fi teen-ish fiction. The funny thing, though, is that these books actually tackle some pretty relevant issues. I mean yeah the actual writing is a little teen-ish (though not awful by any stretch…I’ve read some pretty awful books in my day), but the actual concepts are pretty interesting.
The first series I jumped into after the Hunger Games, was Matched by Ally Condie. The premise is that there is this world where you don’t have to make any decisions at all. You never actually choose anything from the clothes you wear (everyone wears the same thing), to the food you eat (delivered three times a day to your doorstep), to your job, or even who you marry.
The one I’m reading now, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, depicts a world where love is a disease and scientists have found a cure. The government has made any form of affection a crime and forced all the citizens to receive the cure whether they do so willingly or not.
The ideas in the book are very similar. The government is doing it for the citizens’ own good. Disease and deformities are wiped out, peace and order are maintained with little force, and everyone is happier because of the government’s intervention. Or so it seems. In both stories, the focal point is the heroines awakening to the falseness of her life. Everything she has been brought up to believe is false and ultimately, she must join the “resistence” in order to fight the flawed system.
Both books have been somewhat entertaining and thought provoking, but it wasn’t until tonight when I was reading the second book in the Delirium series that something really hit home. The heroine, Lena, encounters some “invalids” (the term refers to uncureds and those not accepted by society). Throughout the story we have met invalids but to this point these were people who were either born outside of the boundaries of cured society or people who chose to run away to avoid the cure. These people, however, were obviously rejected by society because of their appearance. The people are all deformed: missing limbs, disproportionate features, humpbacked. They have escaped underground to escape death from the governing force. This is obviously supposed to be a shocking and disgusting idea. That all people without physical worth lack any worth at all. However, is that really any different than what is going on in our society today? Ninety percent of all down syndrome babies are aborted. The first question when faced with a possible in utero trisomy diagnosis is whether or not you would be interested in an abortion. Heck, in the news right now, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not gender selection abortions should be made illegal. According to Planned Parenthood, not only should they be allowed but if you want one, it should be encouraged. A recent undercover operation captured a PP employee giving advice to a “patient” seeking information on acquiring a sex selection abortion. The employee also gave helpful tips on cheating the medicaid system and getting pregnant immediately following an abortion. See the full video on live action’s website.
I wonder how many people are shocked and disgusted when reading these types of things and, yet, these things are actually happening every single day in our own country and so many people not only see nothing wrong with it but see it as “freedom.” Of course the same people who support such “freedom” often also support forced healthcare which kind of seems the opposite of freedom to me but that’s a whole different complaint about our society that I’ll save for another day.