To judge by recent Hollywood trends, among the most prominent characteristics of the post-apocalyptic world is that it will be saved by a teenage rebel. The YA sub-genre has experienced a meteoric rise with the popularity of The Hunger Games of which the first installment of the final chapter of the trilogy, directed by Francis Lawrence, will open over Thanksgiving. That series is adapted from Suzanne Collins’s trilogy. Indeed, YA multi-volume fictions have proven a fertile source for similar enterprises. Into the shadow of The Hunger Games come Neil Burger’s Divergent, based on Veronica Roth’s first 2011 novel of a trilogy, and Philip Noyce’s The Giver, based on Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newberry Medal winning book that is one part of a loose quartet of novels.
|Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games|
Society in The Hunger Games is divided into twelve districts from each of which an annual lottery (hints of Shirley Jackson’s 1948 chilling short story) determines which boy and which girl age 12-18 will fight to the death in an elaborately controlled, futuristic coliseum. Society in Divergent is segmented into five factions based on personality traits determined at age 16. A “divergent” is one whose personality tests are inconclusive, indicating an aptitude for more than a single clear-cut trait. All pain, violence, and angst have been eliminated from society in The Giver, with the exception of one Receiver of Memory, the position Jonas is assigned on his twelfth birthday and for which he spends the course of the year until his thirteenth apprenticing. In each, the hero’s quest involves overcoming the systems remote powers have put into place to maintain strict mind control.
|Shailene Woodley in Divergent|
|Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in The Giver|
|Meryl Streep in The Giver|
|The Maze Runner|