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Shepard Writing Sample


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Shepard Writing Sample

  1. 1. CHAPTER II FOUCALDIAN POWER STRUCTURES IN YOUNG ADULT DYSTOPIAN NARRATIVES In order to understand the way that adolescent protagonists breakdown the power structures within their dystopian societies, these power structures must first be defined. Coming from a place of oppression allows the adolescent protagonists to experience first-hand the modes of discipline that are used by the governments in power. Through this first-hand experience, the adolescent protagonists are able to become aware of these oppressive power structures and thus, become aware of their subjectivity. In order to make this argument, the way discipline is used in YA dystopian societies will be outlined, showing how each narrative being examined adheres to the modes of discipline that Foucault outlines in his book, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. The societies within The Hunger Games trilogy, The Giver, the Uglies trilogy, and the Chaos Walking trilogy illustrate the different aspects of discipline and power outlined by Foucault in his book through the way President Snow, the Chief Elder, Dr. Cable, and Mayor Prentiss work to maintain their power and through the disciplining the protagonists and the rest of their subjects. It is important to understand the power structures before examining the way that these power structures are subverted through adolescent identity, gender, and sacrifice, outlined in subsequent chapters. The leaders of these societies are able to keep their places of power until the adolescent protagonists of the narratives become aware of the structure in place, which happens through their identity construction, as will be outlined in Chapter III. Once the adolescents are aware of this structure, they are better equipped to resist the oppressive power, and ultimately bring power to the other citizens within their society as well.
  2. 2. Foucauldian modes of discipline are used within YA dystopian narratives in order for the oppressive governments in power to keep their cycle of power. The leaders of these dystopian narratives use Althusser’s idea of the Ideological Stat Apparatus (ISA), which “use[s] suitable methods of punishment, expulsion, selection, etc., to ‘discipline’ not only their Shepherds, but also their flocks” (“Modules”). These ISAs perpetuate power within dystopian narratives, as the dystopian governments use ideologies to enforce their power. For this study, the aspects of discipline that will be examined are spatial distribution, ceremonial punishment, activity control, and surveillance. Spatial distribution can often refer to the physical separation of the population into groups, but it also can refer to separating the population into different classes or groups, by age, occupation, status, and so on. Ceremonial punishment refers to an act of punishment that is used to instill fear in the rest of society, and typically (but not always) leaves some sort of physical mark on the subject who receives it. Activity control refers to the strict control of the activities that populations can engage in and attempts to control the desires of the population, and anyone who falls outside of these boundaries is usually subjected to some sort of physical or psychological punishment. Finally, surveillance allows a governmental power to keep control without having to physically be everywhere at once, similar to Big Brother. The subjects know that Big Brother is watching, so they are less likely to act out against the totalitarian power. The knowledge that someone is always watching and always able to enact different modes of discipline, consistently present within YA dystopian narratives. Modes of Discipline As Foucault explains, discipline and power are always intertwined, especially when it comes to keeping power (Discipline 21). Using the Panopticon as an example, which is a circular prison where prisoners are kept under constant surveillance, Foucault shows how the knowledge
  3. 3. that someone is observing forces the population to do what the leader in power wants (Discipline 231). In addition to explaining and outlining the Panopticon, Foucault also shows how corruptive governments use different modes of punishment to ensure that those who are lowest in the power hierarchy stay in their place through brainwashing their ideologies within the ISA. According to Foucault, “the body that is manipulated, shaped, trained, which obeys, responds, becomes skillful and increases its forces” (Discipline 136). By using discipline to manipulate and brainwash certain sections of the population, especially those that benefit from the oppressive power hierarchy in place, the leaders of these oppressive governments are able to use the brainwashed sections of their populations to control the rest of the population through enforcing their ideologies (“Modules”). In his book, Foucault outlines how discipline has shifted throughout history from physical punishment to psychological, and this shift is exemplified in dystopian texts. Though at times, physical punishment is used in order to enforce the fear of the corruptive power, psychological conditions are what make the citizens within these societies obey the governments in control. These governments instill fear into their populations, recreating narratives attempting to ensure that structures will always remain the same. The YA dystopian narratives show how “a highly disciplined society depends on an effective means of enforcing rules by punishing those who break the rules—by creating, in effect, a ‘culture of punishment,’ in which total control is achieved by a collective fear of retribution. In this kind of community punishment is seen as inevitable even if it is often invisible” (Latham 141). Though the governments are not always physically enacting these different modes of discipline, the populations under their control are conditioned to think that there is always the possibility that one action against the government might immediately enact a form of punishment.
  4. 4. One of the main ways that totalitarian governments keep their power is through the distribution of their populations. In this way, the government keeps sections of the population isolated from each other to gain full mastery of the labor force (Foucault, Discipline 142). This act of spatial distribution happens often in dystopian narratives because if the population, or a group of the oppressed, was to band together against the oppressive force in power, it would be able to overthrow that power (Latham 136). Through becoming aware of the oppression and banding together to work against it, the lower, oppressed populations are able to have more successful rebellions (Wittig 10-11). While the majority of the time the distribution of the population is physical, this does not always have to be the case. Through having each section of the population fulfill a different aspect of productivity, the oppressive governments in place are able to keep their power—that is, until the adolescent protagonist either brings together the entire population (like Katniss and Todd) or gives the society the knowledge they had been lacking the entire time (like Jonas and Tally). Through bringing togetherness and knowledge, the adolescent protagonists give the citizens of these societies the power to overthrow the oppressive power. In The Hunger Games (2008), the distribution of the districts allows Snow to more easily control the citizens of Panem. Each district within Panem is responsible for producing something that the Capitol, and the rest of Panem, needs. For example, District 12, the district that Katniss lives in, mines coal for the Capitol to use to fuel power for the entire country (Collins, Hunger 4). As the lowest district, those who live there are the poorest, and are often starving, almost never favored to win the Games until Katniss volunteers as tribute. Even within the districts themselves, separation among classes can be easily seen, keeping those with privilege and those without separate. One example of this can be seen when Katniss and Gale go to the black market to sell their kills and run into the Mayor’s daughter, Madge. In their interaction, Gale is clearly
  5. 5. frustrated with Madge’s status; however, Katniss reminds him that it is not her fault (Hunger 12). In Panem, for poor families, like Katniss’s and Gale’s families, children’s names can be inputted more times for exchange of food. Because Madge comes from a place of more power, she is less likely to be chosen for the Games. As a result of the unequal distribution of power, those within different classes resent each other, constantly being put into competition by President Snow though the system of the Hunger Games. The resentment between classes also turns the districts against each other, instead of uniting them against the main oppressive power, President Snow, which further emphasizes the separation between classes. In addition to the clear resentment between classes within districts shown through Madge and Gale, there is resentment between the upper and higher districts as well. The richer districts are given more of an advantage in the Games, because their tributes train from birth for the Games, where the children in the poorer districts are typically forced to work in order to provide for their family, much like Katniss does (Hunger 69-70). Because these upper districts typically live a life of luxury, the lower districts resent them because they often live in poverty and have to work for every scrap of food they get (Hunger 94). This creates a disadvantage when it comes to the Games, thus creating an unequal distribution of victors, consequently giving the higher districts more power. In separating the districts and creating this unequal distribution, President Snow emphasizes Foucault’s argument that “every power relationship implies, at least in potentia, a strategy of struggle, in which the two forces are not super-imposed, do not lose their specific nature, or do not finally become confused” (“Subject” 794). In keeping the districts separated and in constant competition, Snow is able to keep his cycle of power and distract them from the fact that they are unsatisfied with the way that power is structured within Panem. If the districts
  6. 6. unite, his position of power will be in trouble the hierarchy he worked to create would topple. This can best be seen in his interaction with Katniss at the beginning of Catching Fire (2009) when he warns her about the rebellion that she inadvertently started in her first Games. After Katniss’s defiance of the Capitol sparks uprisings in Panem, Snow gives Katniss a chance to “fix it,” saying, “Only you’ll have to do even better if the uprisings are to be averted … This tour will be your only chance to turn things around” (29). In this interaction, Snow’s fear of the districts uniting is evident, because if Katniss is not able to convince the districts that her actions were not rebellious, the uprisings will lead to a war that will force Snow’s power to spiral out of control. When Katniss eventually consents to join the rebellion, she learns that President Coin, the leader of the rebellion in District 13, wants to use her in order to unite the districts, because she believes that this act alone will be enough to overthrow the Capitol. In Mockingjay (2010), by using Katniss as a symbol, the rebellion believes that all the districts need to be united, in order for a victory against the Capitol, which eventually happens in the end. In order to survive in District 13, Katniss must become “The person who the districts—most of which are now openly at war with the Capitol—can count on to blaze the path to victory” (Mockingjay 10). Because District 13 is able to unite the districts through the symbol of Katniss as the Mockingjay and the propaganda films that they make, they are able to overthrow President Snow by eliminating spatial distribution (McDonough and Wagner 158). Mayor Prentiss uses a similar mode of spatial distribution in order to keep his place of power in Prentisstown, though his is not class-based like the society presented in The Hunger Games. In The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008), Mayor Prentiss ensures that his town is physically far away from the rest of the population on the New World, as we find out through Todd’s mother’s journal (Ness, Knife 414-420). The physical distance allowed for Mayor
  7. 7. Prentiss to completely eliminate the female population within Prentisstown, enforcing the belief that they all died because of the Noise germ that exists in the New World. This is best seen when Todd and Viola leave Prentisstown, fleeing from Mayor Prentiss and his men. When encountering people who live outside of Prentisstown, like Hildy and her husband Tam, Todd learns that the world is not quite what he was lead to believe. When Todd first encounters Hildy, one of the first people he interacts with outside of Prentisstown, he is surprised to see a woman: “And that’s why it’s so quiet. He’s a woman. He’s a grown woman” (Ness, Knife 143). Given the beliefs that Mayor Prentiss enforces in his town because of their seclusion, Todd cannot comprehend the older woman in front of him. Mayor Prentiss enforces the idea that “there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations” (Foucault, Discipline 27). By controlling the knowledge that his citizens have in relation to the outside world, Mayor Prentiss is ensuring his position in the cycle of power and at the top of the ISA. While the people of Prentisstown are not allowed to know what is going on outside of their town, anyone else living in the New World knows what goes on in Prentisstown. Since everyone knows the practices of Prentisstown, they are always immediately suspicious of Todd and Viola, as seen in Tam and Hildy’s first interaction with them: “‘Prentisstown’s got a sad history, pup,’ Tam says. ‘A whole number of things went sour there’” (Knife 155). This interaction shows how separate Mayor Prentiss keeps his citizens from the other people in the New World. In this way, by keeping his citizens physically distant from everyone else, Mayor Prentiss is able to keep forcing them to believe his version of the narrative, forcing them to believe that women cannot survive in the New World. This allows for his continual oppression of men and again enforces his power through the knowledge that he controls. Later in the narrative,
  8. 8. Todd learns the truth about Prentisstown, and eventually he is able to bring people together to openly defy Mayor Prentiss by the end of The Ask and the Answer (2009). By leaving the isolated town, Todd is able to gain the knowledge to eventually rebel against Mayor Prentiss in Monsters of Men (2010). The spatial distance in this case is what allows the lack of knowledge and what continues the corrupt cycle of power under Mayor Prentiss’s control. In Westerfeld’s trilogy, populations are also kept physically separate. Pretties and uglies are kept separate in order to maintain the gap that exists between these two populations. Once someone turns pretty, they are allowed to move to the higher-end part of town, where everything is shiny and new, and the only thing they have to worry about is planning their next party (Westerfeld, Uglies 17). From the beginning of Uglies (2005), this is all Tally wants to do, because her best friend Peris just moved over to New Pretty Town. The story opens up with Tally openly defying the rules in place, breaking into New Pretty Town just to see her friend and for the thrill of it (Uglies 11-20). The divisions between the two populations are easily seen when Tally enters her friend Peris’s party through Peris’s reaction to her. Peris states, “Just promise me that you won’t do any more stupid tricks … Like coming here. Something that’ll get you into trouble. I want to see you pretty” (Uglies 18). In their whole interaction, all Peris is focused on is Tally waiting to see him when she is turned pretty, because her looks mean that she does not fit into his new lifestyle. Once people receive the pretty operation, they are brainwashed to be disgusted at anyone who has yet to have the operation, thus the two populations are kept separate. The physical separation between pretties and uglies emphasizes the hierarchy between the two. To become pretty means to gain power, something that Tally does not have at the beginning of the series, but she gains power when she turns pretty in the second novel, Pretties (2005). Tally crossing the river into New Pretty Town is an action that shows the physical
  9. 9. separation between pretties and uglies, as she states, “crossing the river was serious business” (Uglies 7). Though uglies are allowed to break the rules before turning pretty, as mentioned earlier on the page, crossing the boundary into New Pretty Town could be considered a serious offense, if caught. While the people in Jonas’s society in The Giver (1993) are not physically distributed or separated like the previous three narratives, there is still a spatial distribution through age. Each citizen of the society is forced to only interact with his or her own age group. Jonas’s mother makes a comment about this before Jonas gets placed at his Ceremony of Twelve: “But it means … that you’ll move into a new group. And each of your friends will. You’ll no longer be spending your time with your group of Elevens” (Lowry 17). This also represents separation, as once the citizens are placed in their respective career groups, they are not allowed to socialize with other groups. This construct is constantly enforced within society, through associating different aspects of growing older with different ages. By enforcing these age separations, the Council is able to keep society complacent. In The Giver, the separation works to keep society functioning; people are often reminded that everyone does their part in order to keep everything running smoothly, much like the prison example, the Panopticon, which Foucault uses in his text. The purpose of the Panopticon is “to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power” (Discipline 201). By separating the populations into groups that serve a specific purpose, the Elders ensure that their power is kept within their community. In addition to this separation of friend groups in ages in Jonas’s society, there are even different ceremonies based on age. Once the citizens turn a certain age, there is a different stage of life associated with it, with the age of twelve being the most important. At the age of twelve,
  10. 10. children are placed in the career area where they will spend the rest of their life (Lowry 11). The distribution and separation in this instance is made natural, as it has been happening for as long as people can remember; it works to keep society running smoothly and enforces the idea of sameness enforced throughout the narrative, even though there are some careers that are held in higher esteem than others. For example, if someone is chosen as a Birthmother, they are looked down upon, seen when Jonas’s sister states that she might want that position for its association with the life of luxury. Their mother reacts negatively to Lily’s statement, saying: “‘Lily!’ Mother spoke very sharply. ‘Don’t say that. There’s very little honor in that Assignment’” (Lowry 21). By conditioning people to think like this, society runs much more smoothly, and is enforced through the Chief Elder. The Chief Elder is the head of the Council, and she is the one who makes all of the decisions for the community. Though it is never made clear how she is elected into power, she keeps her power by enforcing the rules and separation present within their community. As in The Hunger Games, through separating people based on their occupation, people are less likely to talk about what they are doing with others, keeping it a mystery. This illustrates a form of control that is achieved through the regulation of knowledge, leading to a regulation of the individuals themselves (Latham 140). Keeping citizens in this mystery, like Mayor Prentiss does in Chaos Walking, allows the government to better control the population. By keeping people in the dark, they become more easily controlled. Totalitarian governments within dystopian narratives use this separation in order to keep their citizens in control. In each instance, the leaders of these dystopian societies use some form of distribution or separation in order to keep their populations under control. By doing so, their hold on power continues, as eventually people become used to the structures because it is the way it has always been, securing their ISA position. By uniting populations or bridging knowledge to them, the
  11. 11. adolescent protagonists are eventually able to create more successful revolutions, working outside of the structures the adults put into place, and either uniting or bringing knowledge to the population which allows for a more successful rebellion. However, once the adolescent protagonists learn of the separation, and of the systems that are behind the government’s control, they are more easily able to defy the oppressive powers, even eventually overthrowing them. Another way power is enforced is through a spectacle of physical punishment, which, according to Foucault, results in a never-ending cycle of violence (Discipline 74). It is through this action of physical punishment that power often leaves its mark on the bodies of those it controls, which can be easily seen with dystopian societies. Physical punishment also shows that power can have a permanent hold on the body, as those in power “invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, to emit signs” (Foucault, Discipline 25). The fear and the mark of the physicality of this punishment is what keeps the population in line, as these punishments are often made public, so the entire population can see what happens when they step out of line. Within dystopian societies, this idea is exaggerated, as often the punishment is more severe than what would be seen within reality. For example, at the end of 1984, Winston is constantly barraged with physical tortured, with the Party using rats, his greatest fear, to force him to conform to their beliefs (Orwell 283). This exaggeration of punishment is also true within YA dystopian societies, where the punishment of rebellious actions is feared within the population. Those who rebel often completely disappear, or are refused the rewards of those who conform to the structures laid out by those in control. The Hunger Games trilogy is the best example of this, with the public spectacle of the Games. The Games were originally created in order to keep the districts in line, essentially punishing the children for their parents’ mistakes. At the beginning of the series, readers learn
  12. 12. that this system has been in place for 74 years, keeping those who do not live in the Capitol obeying President Snow, for fear of their children being put into the Games—or worse (Collins, Hunger 18). Those who win the Games are promised safety for life, but as Finnick shows in Mockingjay, this is not the case; they are controlled like everyone else. Finnick states “If a victor is considered desirable, the president gives them as a reward or allows people to buy them for an exorbitant amount of money. If you refuse, he kills someone you love. So you do it” (Collins, Mockingjay 170). By holding this power over the victors, Snow is able to use them in whatever way he pleases, but still ensures that the public can still see their life of luxury. If the children win the Games, this life of “luxury” is theirs forever. Public punishment is the most effective in dystopian narratives because, “in any case, men will remember public exhibition, the pillory, torture and pain duly observed” (Foucault, Discipline 34). Snow uses the threat of violence and punishment within Panem, with the public display of the games and the abuse of the victors, in order to instill fear in all generations and ensure that everyone will do exactly what he wants, keeping him in power. While it may seem that the rebel group, District 13, should be the opposite of the Capitol in terms of power structures because they fight for a freer and more equal society, Katniss quickly learns that this is not the case. President Coin, the leader of the rebels, uses power tactics similar to Snow to keep her position and to ensure that the rebels win (Koenig 47). By the end of the trilogy, it is clear that her plan all along was for the districts and the Capitol to completely destroy each other in order for her to gain total power. This desire is best exemplified through Coin’s final move in the revolution, bombing Capitol children, hurting the innocents much like Snow does with his Games. The events that follow the destruction of the Capitol confirm Katniss’s suspicions, specifically the events surrounding Prim’s death. The moment that Katniss
  13. 13. makes a plan to kill President Coin is at a meeting when the Capitol has been destroyed, when Coin suggests holding another Hunger Games using Capitol children (Mockingjay 369). Where Katniss was having doubts before the meeting with Coin, the suggestion to hold another Hunger Games solidifies Katniss’s decision to kill Coin in order to remove her from power. Essentially, both the Capitol and District 13 use the “ultimate in terror tactics because [they play] with the lives of innocents” (Pavlik 31). While District 13 does not use the torture practices that the Capitol uses, President Coin still uses intimidation tactics through punishment, which can be seen when Katniss learns about her prep team, who have been kept prisoner at District 13: “I dart around the distracted guard, push open the door marked 3908, and find them. Half-naked, bruised, and shackled to the wall” (Collins, Mockingjay 46). Coin exhibits her power over Katniss by physically punishing those she cares about, sending a message to anyone else would does not conform to her beliefs. Where the citizens of Panem are brainwashed to believe that the Games are the best way for their society to function because it keeps the order, those who are a part of the rebellion are lead to believe that complete obliteration of the Capitol is necessary for their rebellion to be a success. Overall, using these public fear tactics, both on the side of the Capitol and the rebellion, perpetuates a cycle of violence initiated through the violent punishment stemming from the force in power. As Foucault states, “It was as if the sovereign power did not see, in this emulation of atrocity, a challenge that it itself threw down and which might one day be taken up: accustomed as it was to ‘seeing blood flow,’ the people soon learnt that ‘could be revenged only with blood’” (Discipline 73). This quote shows that the force in power does not realize that using violent and physical punishment, much like the Capitol does, can create a cycle of violence, as violence is often met with violence. Thus, the Capitol’s use of violent tactics to keep its citizens in line
  14. 14. fostered the violence that District 13 would eventually use against them, and shows that the only way to end the cycle is to completely eliminate the corruptive power. This cycle of violence through public punishment can also be seen in the Chaos Walking trilogy, as Mayor Prentiss uses violence in order to maintain his position of power in Prentisstown. In the society that he creates, boys are expected to become men when they turn thirteen, going through a specific ceremony associated with being a man. Todd’s adoptive caretaker, Ben, sends Todd away before this can happen to him, and when Todd learns about what happens at the ceremony to become a man, he reacts harshly: And here comes my birthday— The day I’ll become a man— And— And— And there it all is— What happens— What the other boys did who became men— All alone— All by themselves— How every last bit of boyhood is killed off— (Ness, Knife 52) While Todd does not necessarily come out and say exactly what happens in this quote, later in the novel he learns that in order to become a man, thirteen-year-old boys are forced to kill. The society that Mayor Prentiss creates is based on this cycle of violence, as in order to be assimilated into society, an act of violence is absolutely necessary. Though the ceremony of killing is not talked about in public, because Todd did not know about it, it is implied that
  15. 15. someone is punished by becoming the sacrifice in this ceremony. The looming threat of this violence keeps people in line, enforcing Mayor Prentiss’s power. By escaping and learning the truth, and through his eventual sacrifice at the end of the narrative,i Todd is able to escape the violence, creating an opportunity for a more equal society. Other YA dystopian texts use a different route of public punishment in order to keep the order in society: public humiliation. For example, The Giver uses a cycle of humiliation similar to the cycle of violence seen in Panem and Prentisstown in order to ensure that its citizens stay in line. Whenever citizens in The Giver step out of line, it is publically announced who committed the wrong, so the person who did it feels guilt for their action. Jonas reminisces about a time that he accidentally brought an apple home, and at the end of the day, “The only thing that happened was the announcement later that evening over the speaker, the announcement that had singled him out without using his name, that had caused both of his parents to glance meaningfully at this desk where the apple still lay” (Lowry 25). Though Jonas’s name was not specifically mentioned, the Chief Elders use this tactic to ensure that the wrongful act will not happen again, because the citizen is conditioned to become overwhelmed by guilt and face the consequences of the community finding out exactly what he or she did. In addition to these public announcements, citizens are also forced to apologize when they commit a wrong to someone else, when they cause them discomfort. This is illustrated at Jonas’s ceremony, when the Chief Elder forces Jonas to wait for his placement, so she apologizes for making him nervous: “I have caused you anxiety,” she said. “I apologize to my community.” Her voice flowed over the assembled crowd. “We accept your apology,” they all uttered together.
  16. 16. “Jonas,” she said, looking down at him, “I apologize to you in particular. I caused you anguish.” “I accept your apology,” Jonas replied shakily. (Lowry 60) This interaction shows the system in place, which forces citizens, and even leaders, to acknowledge their wrongs and look for forgiveness for what they have done. The apology process emphasizes the society’s desire to eliminate all negative feelings to enforce the idea of peacefulness and lack of conflict that exists. If everyone is forced to acknowledge their wrongs immediately and publically, they are less likely to commit them (Latham 138). The Chief Elder regulates the people within her society through the use of public embarrassment as punishment, reinforcing Foucault’s idea that in order for an individual to become a powerful economic source, he must be disciplined, regulated, and subjected to a higher authority (Discipline 138- 140). By bringing to light the wrongs that citizens commit, they become disciplined to believe that in order to avoid this public humiliation, they must adhere to the rules and regulations set within their community. Though this structure is not as violent as the one presented in The Hunger Games or Chaos Walking, it still illustrates the way this society is brainwashed by those in power, and their behavior is enforced through a sort of punishment. Westerfeld uses a similar tactic in Uglies by depicting the use of humiliation by the leader of society to keep her citizens in line. Dr. Cable, the leader of a group called Special Circumstances who enforces the laws of New Pretty Town, uses her power to hold back the operation to turn people pretty. By holding back the operation, it becomes clear who is not following the laws of society, because they remain in their ugly state. Tally learns this first hand when Dr. Cable forces her into a plan to out those who are against the pretty transformation. At the end of this interaction, Dr. Cable turns menacing:
  17. 17. Dr. Cable bared her teeth. This time, it wasn’t even a mockery of a smile. The woman became nothing but a monster, vengeful and inhuman. “Then I’ll make you a promise too, Tally Youngblood. Until you do help us, to the very best of your ability, you will never become pretty.” Dr. Cable turned away. “You can die ugly for all I care.” (Westerfeld, Uglies 106) The events that follow this conversation humiliate Tally even more, as she no longer has a place to live, since there are not accommodations in Crumblyville for people to live past the age for the pretty operation. People have to make special arrangements for Tally, making it even more obvious that she has not had her operation yet. This cycle is similar to the one that the Chief Elder uses in Jonas’s society, using the public humiliation to keep society in line. This action creates dread and anxiety in the citizen, like Tally, and is used as an example for the rest of the uglies that if they do not obey Special Circumstances, their operation will be held back too. Through enacting public forms of punishment, those in power are able to keep their positions of power, creating a cycle of power within dystopian societies. By using the previous two methods of discipline, spatial distribution and punishment, oppressive governments are able to control the activities and desires of their societies. In this respect, controlling governments encourage “those activities that are useful to society and discourag[e] those that are counterproductive” (Latham 136). These activities are enforced through a combination of the modes of discipline included here, as these modes instill the fear into the citizens of the respective societies. By enforcing power through discipline, the oppressive governments are able to keep their positions in society without taking many actions
  18. 18. themselves. They keep their power by instilling fear through all of these aspects of discipline, which also helps to regulate the activities that the citizens engage in. In The Hunger Games, roles are enforced through where the citizens come from; the district that a person lives in defines what they do. Peacekeepers, the soldiers that keep the peace within Panem, enforce these roles, punishing anyone that does not do what they are supposed to. These punishments can be seen best in Catching Fire when Snow ups the number of Peacekeepers in District 12 after Katniss’s rebellious acts at the end of her first Games. These new Peacekeepers use more violent forms of punishment and disband the Black Market (Collins, Catching 110). Snow uses this force as a warning to Katniss that he knows the activities that she partakes in, and she is not above the punishment that is given to Gale. Additionally, desire is used by the tributes of the Games, because if they are more desirable to the audience and to the Capitol, they are more likely to win the Games. Katniss observes this in her first Games, both through Haymitch and through Cinna. Haymitch tries to make Katniss more likeable for her interview, because that will get her more sponsors for the Games (Hunger 117). Sponsors are a huge source for the Games, because with sponsors, tributes are able to get items that they need to survive, like medicine, water, food, etc. However, Katniss has a difficult time with this, as her personality is naturally prickly. So Cinna, her stylist for the Games, uses her beauty to attract sponsors, and gives her the confidence to go into the interview, saying, “No one can help but admire your spirit” (Hunger 121). The citizens of Panem desire tributes who are innocent and likeable, and Katniss uses this desire in order to give her an edge in the Games. By controlling the citizens’ actions and their desires, President Snow can more easily control the entire population. The desire for the tributes is paradoxical, as while the Games are used as a form of punishment for Panem, within the Capitol, they are also used as a spectacle
  19. 19. for entertainment. The Games are created as such a spectacle that everyone is forced to watch, and the citizens of the Capitol are conditioned to enjoy them. Watching the Games “imposes the best relation between a gesture and the overall position of the body” (Foucault, Discipline 152). Not only do tributes physically change their body in order to become desirable to the greater population, but there is also a correlation made between the punishment shown through the Games and the desire for the fame and glory that theoretically comes through winning them. Through learning the desires of the society, and the ways that these are enforced, the adolescents are more easily able to defy the oppressive power in place. Similarly, the citizens of Prentisstown are conditioned to want to become men, to become a contributing part of society. This is seen within Todd’s thoughts throughout the first novel and Mayor Prentiss’s emphasis within the rest of the narrative. In The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd makes comments about what actions do and do not constitute being a man. This trend is followed in the other novels, as being a man is something that Mayor Prentiss is obsessed with. Mayor Prentiss uses this idea to manipulate others to do what he wants them to do. For example, when Mayor Prentiss is creating a new society, he flatters Todd by telling him that his son will learn how to be a man from Todd: “He will learn what it’s like to act with honour, what it’s like to act like a real man. What it’s like, in short, to act like you” (Ness, The Ask 56). Mayor Prentiss’s use of the notion of manhood is what allows him to get people to do what he wants, forcing them to do his bidding stemming from a fear of punishment. Prentiss’s notions of manhood permeate the trilogy, and when they leave the secluded town that he has created, he attempts to use these same tactics to make other people follow him too. The constant opposition between men and women, almost reminiscent of the binary structured in reality, forces people into these acts of violence for equality. Mayor Prentiss spins a narrative about history that
  20. 20. demonizes women, stating that in the war with the Spackle, the women “made their own army, Viola. They splintered off, not trusting men whose thoughts they could read. We tried to reason with them, but eventually, they wanted war. And I’m afraid they got it” (Ness, The Ask 126). The men of Prentisstown are less likely to trust women, because Mayor Prentiss makes them believe that the women abandoned them in a time of need. By controlling the activities and desires of his town, Mayor Prentiss is able to keep his position of power, and by erasing those who are against him (mainly the women), his position is solidified. Activities and desires are also strongly controlled in The Giver, as anything that does not adhere to the guidelines set up by the Elders is immediately reported and citizens are forced to apologize. The best example of this is the lives of the children within this society, which are strictly regulated, even up to when they get to start certain activities. With each age, a new aspect of life is presented to the children; for example, Jonas’s sister Lily, who is turning eight, gets to start volunteering hours, which are strictly regulated hours that children are required to complete so the Elders will know which career fits them best (Lowry 45). The children within this society do not have much choice in what they do with their time, and to remove any idleness, as time spent not being productive was time that citizens could deviate from the norm (Foucault, Discipline 154). The combination of this control of activity and the public apologies mentioned in the previous section enforces the ideas of sameness that the Elders emphasize. In order for everyone to be equal, everyone needs to meet the same standards. However, individuality and free will are severely sacrificed so as to keep this order. Within this society, mentioning anything that is different is strictly avoided; as Jonas notes, “It was the sort of thing one didn’t ask a friend about because it might have fallen into that uncomfortable category of ‘being different’” (Lowry
  21. 21. 38). Because of their conditioning, the citizens feel that mentioning anything different was rude, and instead, they just keep silent (Latham 141). Additionally, citizens of this town sacrifice other emotions and feelings with the aim of keeping the sameness and order within the society. When Jonas first has a sexualized dream about his friend Fiona, he immediately reports it to his parents, who give him a pill to control his “stirrings.” However, even though children are conditioned to not want these feelings, Jonas still wants them, as he liked the way that they felt. As he goes to school his first day after taking the pills, Jonas remembers that when he woke up from his dream, “he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again” (Lowry 39). By controlling these feelings through a pill, the government is able to better control the population, as people will not stray from their path because of love or sexual desire. Eliminating feelings and desires for the population makes them more docile, but when Jonas begins receiving the memories from the Giver, he realizes what everyone is missing. Because Jonas does not take the pills for his training, he is able to feel and know things that others do not, and by the end of the novel, he wants to be able to share these feelings with everyone else (Lowry 135). By leaving and releasing these memories, Jonas is opening the eyes of everyone in his town, which eventually allows them to overturn the power structures that were in place. Like Katniss uses desire to control the narrative of the Games, Jonas is able to control and change the narrative that the oppressive power has created, and able to create a society that has more free will than the original. In Tally’s society, people are conditioned from birth to want the surgery to look pretty, because they are told that they are ugly. Before people are given the pretty surgery, those who live in Crumblyville are expected to follow a certain set of rules. Once uglies are turned pretty, they are given an illusion of freedom, as they expect to be able to party 24/7 once given this new
  22. 22. status. When Tally is turned pretty in the second book, readers get a good view of the free lifestyle people are able to have as pretties and the lack of worry that the surgery brings. The opening line of the novel illustrates this: “Getting dressed was always the hardest part of the afternoon” (Westerfeld, Pretties 3). This quote emphasizes the fact that the most difficult part of a pretty’s day is to decide what clothing to wear, showing that they live a life of luxury. Though these lifestyles and activities are not outright enforced, because no one is absolutely forced to party, the pretty operation changes the chemicals in the brain to make people more manageable, as Tally learns in the previous book. The controlling of behavior in New Pretty Town is not quite as obvious as it is in the other dystopian texts examined here, because Dr. Cable and the others who control the operation make it so all of the pretties will be willing to submit to their control and continue to make changes in order to keep this control, as seen in Specials (2006). Whereas Jonas’s, Todd’s, and Katniss’s society emphasize the necessity to eliminate idleness and unproductiveness within their societies in order to quell ideas of rebellion, Tally’s society emphasizes idleness and “freedom” in order to ensure that they will submit to Special Circumstances when necessary (Foucault, Discipline 154). The operation itself works as a means of control, as it even is used as a way to make uglies stay in line, seen in the previous scene cited between Dr. Cable and Tally. People within this society are brainwashed to think that the pretty operation is the only way their appearance will be acceptable within their small society, and it is the only thing they desire. By controlling what people can do with their free time, and manipulating their desires, leaders of YA dystopian societies are able to keep their populations more complacent, which allows them to keep their positions of power. In combination with the other aspects of discipline listed here, YA dystopian leaders make it difficult for anyone to defy them, as according to them,
  23. 23. everything is as it is because that is how it has always been. Through manipulating these modes of discipline, the adolescent protagonists of these narratives are better able to over throw the oppressive power that is in place. In order to be able to control the desires and activities of the population, the government in control needs to be able to observe the population. According to Foucault, constant surveillance, and eventually the expectation of surveillance, means that the authority does not need to be present in every action of the population; instead, as Foucault says of prisoners in the Panopticon, if the population knows that they are being watched, this state of permanent visibility “should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers” (Discipline 201). By having this constant state of observation through both other citizens and the government itself, those who hold power within society do not have to constantly visit or watch the population in order to ensure their power is still enforced. The population of Panem knows that Snow is constantly watching them, which subtly enforces Snow’s power within this particular society. This observation puts into action Foucault’s arguments about the Panopticon and the knowledge of constant surveillance, as “surveillance thus becomes … a specific mechanism in the disciplinary power” (Foucault, Discipline 175). President Snow illustrates this at the beginning of Catching Fire when he tells Katniss that he knows about her kiss with Gale. He meets Katniss at her house, and during their conversation he tells her, “Speak, Miss Everdeen. Him I can easily kill off if we don’t come to a happy resolution … You aren’t doing him a favor by disappearing into the woods with him each Sunday” (Catching 24). Immediately after this comment, Katniss tries to figure out what else
  24. 24. Snow might possibly know about her and Gale, remembering the time that they kissed in the woods. By making this comment, Katniss knows that Snow is constantly watching her every move, and in order to keep order within Panem, she must do exactly as he says. By telling Katniss the idea that he is always watching her, Snow is enforcing his power over her. Though District 13 is not constantly observed by the Capitol and remains mostly under President Snow’s radar for the majority of the narrative, the notion of surveillance can also be seen throughout the district through President Coin. President Snow and the rest of Panem thought that District 13 was completely obliterated in the bombing, but as a mainly military district, they were forced underground (Collins, Mockingjay 16). However, the rebels within District 13 are also heavily observed, being forced to follow certain schedules that are tattooed on their arms each day (Mockingjay 18). The citizens are expected to follow these schedules, and if they do not, it is quickly known because they are constantly observed by other citizens as well. Making citizens report events of misconduct shows how that through surveillance, “disciplinary power became an ‘integrated’ system” (Foucault, Discipline 176). Enforcing the idea of surveillance not only through the government, but through the citizens as well, further pushes the structures of power throughout the population. Through surveillance, those in power within this society are able to keep control of their citizens, keeping them exactly where they want them to be. Surveillance in the Chaos Walking trilogy is a little easier, because men’s thoughts are projected to the rest of society. Because the Noise germ has affected all men and everyone can hear their thoughts, this makes it easier for those in power to keep tabs on everyone else. The men in this society are not able to control the thoughts that others might hear, making it difficult to hide things from those in power; the only person who is able to control his thoughts is Mayor
  25. 25. Prentiss himself. In a way, constantly being able to hear other people’s thoughts works better than a form of surveillance from the other societies described here, as people cannot lie in their Noise; they are always open and vulnerable. Todd observes this at the beginning of the series when he states: “The swamp is the only place anywhere near Prentisstown where you can have half a break from all the Noise that men spill outta themselves, all their clamor and clatter that never lets up, even when they sleep, me and the thoughts they don’t know they think even when everyone else can here” (Ness, Knife 5). The constant barrage of everyone’s thoughts makes it easy for Mayor Prentiss to enforce his beliefs onto everyone else, and easily see when they are not following. The constant surveillance of a population keeps the cycle of power without a constant physical presence, which is what Mayor Prentiss takes advantage of through his use of the Noise. Not only can Mayor Prentiss hear everyone’s thoughts, he is able to control them to do his bidding, pushing his own Noise onto the Noise of others. By the end of the narrative, he works up the ability to control a whole army. As Mayor Prentiss says, “You need a lever to work a man. And Noise turns out to be a very good one” (Ness, Monsters 179). In addition to being a tool for surveillance, the Noise can also be used as a literal tool to control the population. The combination of the knowledge of being surveyed and Mayor Prentiss’s ability to mentally control people keeps his population in line and keeps Mayor Prentiss in power. Surveillance is obvious within Jonas’s society as well, most evident after Jonas steals the apple. At the end of each day, there are loudspeaker announcements, presented as reminders for the entire population. These announcements show that the population, children especially, is almost constantly under surveillance. Jonas notes this when he comments that his sister’s hair is often loose and the ribbons dangling, something that is not acceptable within their society: “He turned toward Lily and noticed to his satisfaction that her ribbons were, as usual, undone and
  26. 26. dangling. There would be an announcement like that quite soon, he felt certain, and it would be directed mainly at Lily, though her name of course, would not be mentioned. Everyone would know” (Lowry 23). These small acts outside of the norm are quickly noticed and corrected to ensure the sameness that everyone strives for. The final comment, “Everyone would know,” illustrates the other form of surveillance in place within society—that of the citizens. Because they are brainwashed to believe that anything out of the ordinary is seen as bad, being different is always avoided (Latham 139). From a young age, citizens are taught the rules of society, so they do not disobey when they are older. By pounding these ideals into their heads from a young age through the ISA, and encouraging the idea of reporting anyone who might not follow the rules, the government’s surveillance is even more strongly in place than the other dystopian societies being analyzed. This constant observation emphasizes the idea that someone is always watching, reminiscent of 1984 and other classical dystopian texts. The citizens in Crumblyville are also observed by those in power, though not as strictly as in other dystopian texts. The surveillance is most obvious in Tally’s interactions with Dr. Cable in Uglies. When Tally is taken into Special Circumstances, Dr. Cable reveals exactly how much she knows about Tally and her friend Shay: Tally swallowed. How much did this woman know about her? “Yeah, like Peris and me.” “But Shay’s friends didn’t wind up pretty, did they?” Tally took a slow breath, remembering her promise to Shay. She didn’t want to lie, though. Dr. Cable would know if she did, Tally was sure. She was in enough trouble already. “Why wouldn’t they?” (Westerfeld, Uglies 102)
  27. 27. This interaction between Dr. Cable and Tally shows just how much the government knows about what types of tricks uglies get up to even if the uglies think they are being sneaky. Though Special Circumstances does not always intervene in rule breaking, which is mostly encouraged when people are ugly, this conversation illustrates that they are always watching. The government, essentially Dr. Cable and Special Circumstances, only intervenes when it will help them maintain the balance of society, like Dr. Cable’s situation with Tally. Special Circumstance’s constant surveillance of the uglies allows them to maintain the hierarchy of ugly/pretty/special within their society. The idea of surveillance within YA dystopian texts is reminiscent of other past dystopian texts, which used surveillance to keep the threat of power when the government cannot physical be there itself. Once a dystopian society is established, surveillance allows those in power to enact the other forms of punishment that have been described here as well. Conclusion Foucault’s modes of discipline are used throughout YA dystopian narratives by the leaders of the corruptive governments within each society depicted. It is through the combination of these modes of discipline that the leaders are able to instill the fear and oppression necessary to keep their roles of power. Until the adolescent protagonists become aware of the way disciplines are used, the cycle of oppressive power continues. Each dystopian society being analyzed for this study shows how Foucault’s modes of discipline and power structures are used to enforce the power hierarchies that perpetually keep the oppressive government in power. Not only do the governments enforce the power, other citizens are brainwashed to do so as well. By becoming aware of the power structures, the adolescents are able to bring this awareness to the rest of the population, as well as culminate in their sacrifice. The adolescents become aware of
  28. 28. power structures through the construction of their identities, outlined in the following chapter. This awareness, combined with their adolescent identity, is what allows the successful breakdown of oppressive government, creating hope for a new, more equal power structure. iOften, the sacrifice of the adolescent protagonist is what is able to end the constant cycle of violence perpetuated by the corruptive government, as outlined and explained in Chapter IV.