An Unexpected Companion: Hope and its Role in Dystopian Literature
Ramirez, Luis Alberto
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This thesis establishes a framework for analyzing the role of hope in young adult and adult dystopian novels. The first chapter establishes what hope is and what facets are focused on in establishing a framework for hope in a dystopian novel. This framework is based on figures such as Aquinas and Aristotle and uses Gravlee and Cartwright to establish a consensus on hope. Hope is an integral part of the human experience that comes in two states: pseudo-hope and true hope. True hope is a future desire for something good that is difficult to obtain but not impossible. It is something that is worked towards in everyday life and not merely an idea that lives in the future desires of a person. Hope is also courageous, but must not be confused with confidence; or one will fall into the pitfalls of pseudo-hope: overconfidence, extreme optimism, or ignorance . Moreover, this thesis establishes that hope may be used for manipulation via the three categories of hope that are not contingent on whether they are true or pseudo. In other words,, one can have a private hope that is pseudo and a public one that is true. The second chapter looks at George Orwell’s 1984’s manipulation of hope using the previously established framework. It contends that the Party is so successful because it masterfully manipulates its citizens by guiding them towards pseudo-hope and thus n ot allowing their true hope to flourish. Additionally, this chapter establishes the protagonist, Winston Smith, as an example of one who falls due to his venture in pseudo-hope. Lastly, the third chapter looks at Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and argues that it is the antithesis to 1984 because the ruling Capitol fails where the Party succeeds: the manipulation of hope. Furthermore, this chapter establishes the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, as a symbol of true hope via her personality and actions fitting the framework previously established. Lastly, this chapter looks at why The Hunger Games must be a positive example of hope due to its intended audience. This thesis concludes with an overview of the framework for hope and the examples of pseudo-hope and true-hope that were established.