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Dienstag, 12. Mai 2015

Young Adult, Mary Sues, und anderes

Passt schon.
So, wie ihr wohl alle wisst, bin ich total fasziniert von dem Konzept der Mary Sue - und so habe ich auch immer erkannt, ob eine Buchreihe oder Filmreihe gut oder totaler Mist ist. In der Literatur kommen die meisten Mary Sues in der Schublade "Young Adult" vor - Young Adult steht eigentlich für Jugendliche, aber meiner Meinung nach ist Young Adult inzwischen nur eine Entschuldigung geworden für Autoren (jung oder alt) die nicht so gut schreiben können und dessen Hauptcharaktere meistens Mary Sues sind. 

So auch im Falle von Divergent

Es fing alles letztes Jahr an, Anfang März. Da ging ich zur Vorpremiere von Divergent. Eines der einzigen Gründe weshalb ich in den Film ging war das Kate Winslett mitspielt. Ich wusste schon dass es auf einen Roman basierte - ich hatte einen Monat zuvor eine Vorschau des Romans dass man gratis im Kino bekam gelesen. Meine Güte kam mir diese Welt merkwürdig vor - während die dystopische Welt die zum Beispiel in The Hunger Games dargestellt wird noch ziemlich realistisch ist (man sehe sich nur Nordkorea an...) und einen sozialkritischen Kommentar hatte, da begriff ich die Welt die die noch sehr junge Autorin in Divergent beschreibt irgendwie überhaupt nicht. 

Naja. In dem Film geht es um etwas, das versucht eine Dystopie zu sein, es aber überhaupt nicht ist. Es spielt in einem futuristischen Chicago wo die Gesellschaft in verschiedenen Faktionen geteilt ist - Abnegation, die Selbstlosen, Erudite, die Gelehrten, Dauntless, die Mutigen, Candor, die Ehrlichen, und Amity, die Freundlichen. Ich weis, es hört sich total...blödsinnig an. Jedenfalls gehört Beatrice, die Hauptperson (die im Film recht gut von Shailene Woodley gespielt wird - allerdings nervt ihre Stimme), zu Abnegation. Sie selbst ist in einer Teenie-Krise und fühlt sich nicht selbstlos genug. Und was Veronica Roth, die Autorin, von "Selbstlosigkeit" versteht, verstehe ich nicht - so ist es denen nur erlaubt, sich einmal im Monat im Spiegel zu betrachten. Oy vey...und dann sollen sie und ihr Bruder zu einem Test, wo sie in eine science fiction-artige Simulation sollen um dort herauszufinden, zur welcher Faktion ihre Persönlichkeit (oder so) gehört. Beatrice´s extrem surreale Simulation bestimmt, sie gehöre sowohl zu Abnegation, Erudite und Dauntless - was sie zu einer Divergentin macht, und das ist laut der Testerin (fantastisch gespielt von Maggie Q) gefährlich, und sie solle es niemanden erzählen. Am nächsten Tag gehen sie und ihr Bruder zur Zeremonie (oder so ähnlich) um auszuwählen, ob sie in ihrer Faktion bleiben wollen, oder in eine andere wechseln wollen. Als ihr Bruder Caleb zu den Erudite wechselt, wechselt sie zu den Dauntless. Dort angekommen ändert sie ihren Namen in "Tris" (weil der Name total speshul ist) und verliebt sich in einen ihrer Träner, Four (ich weis, ein echt blöder Name - und Theo James ist wohl der totale Reinfall in dieser Rolle). Jedenfalls versucht sie irgendwann ihren Bruder zu besuchen, und wird von der Erudite Anführerin Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslett - der einzige Lichtpunkt im ganzen Film) ertappt, die ihr daraufhin einen Einblick gibt in ihr soziopatisches denken.  In der Zwischenzeit offenbaren sich Tris und Four sowohl ihre Liebe als auch ihr "Digervent-sein". Währenddessen versucht Jeanine mit einen bösen Plan durchzukommen....

Naja, als ich den Film damals sah, war ich eigentlich begeistert. Ich würde ihn auch gucken wenn er im TV käme. Jedenfalls fiel mir bei der Hauptperson das erste Mary Sue sein auf als sie anfing sich "Tris" zu nennen - weil das ja ach so "anders" klingt und so. Und dann dass sie innerhalb von kürzester Zeit die Kampfkünste (oder so) gut konnte. 

Das beste am Film war für mich die fantastische Darstellung der Jeanine von Kate Winslett - ich bekam richtig Gänsehaut! 

Ich entdeckte jedenfalls erst vor kurzen, was für eine lausige Schriftstellerin die Roth ist, als ich versuchen wollte mehr über den Character der Jeanine herausfinden wollte, da sie eigentlich der ein-zigste Interessante ist in der Trilogie. Naja. Ich schaute dann in den offiziellen Divergent Wiki. Das hier war das einzige dass raus kam. 

Im ernst? Ein so flacher Character? Ich glaube, der einzige Grund, weshalb es im Film funktionierte liegt daran, dass Kate Winslett eine fantastische Schauspielerin ist. 

Bei der Studienfahrt nach Israel sah ich den zweiten Teil Insurgent in Tel Aviv mit einer Freundin. Wieder war Kate Winslett der einzige Lichtpunkt, und hier wurde wirklich klar was für eine Mary Sue Beatrice Prior ist. 

Und andere Gründe weshalb Divergent lausig ist, liefert diese Review auf Goodreads:

I felt like I could feel what the author was thinking. Regardless of whether or not this is true, this is what I felt the author was saying to me through my copy of Divergent (minorish, and a few obvious spoilers to follow, major spoiler hidden under cut, you’ve been warned):

Research? Lol who needs to do that to write a book? No I know how to write a book, okay. I’ve read other books so I know.

You know what was a good book? The Hunger Games. I liked Mockingjay as well, so I think I’m going to put them together and write a book just like that. Yea. Okay. Small petite girl, check. Dystopia, check. Living in an underground compound, check. Lessons about bravery and self-sacrifice, check. Small girl trains with other people who are jealous of her success, check. Kills people, check. (view spoiler) Good. I’ve got all the elements of a good book. I’ve even ended the last chapter with a train. Both The Hunger Games and Harry Potter did that. I’m going to be a YA legend.

What’s cool? Jumping on a moving train. What else is cool? Jumping off a roof. Oh yea that sounds cool. I’ve seen that in a movie. Yea. What’s even cooler than that? ZIPLINING. I gotta think of more cool things, hold on. Gimme a second and I’ll come up with another.

Omg this book took me a WHOLE month to write. That’s like an eternity. Okay publishing time.


I’ve read that she did write it in a month. Whether it’s true or not, I'd certainly believe it in a heartbeat. The whole thing is rushed and just…completely nonsensical and full of trope after trope. It seemed to me that there was little effort put into analyzing the world and zero research done for it, which is a reminder to any of us who are writers to always have a reason for something, and not just because it “sounds cool.” This book is a treasure trove of COOL PEOPLE tropes and activities. Which doesn’t seem to work on me as I really can’t stand that breed of thrill-seeking people who’d rather risk their life doing stupid shit instead of… you know, not. So what is supposed to be super awesomely cool people just, to me, looked like a band of idiots.

Before I break it down, let’s get one thing out of the way. Wigs, did you like anything about the book though? Yes. Yes I did. Let’s talk about what did work for me:

-Chapters 24 and 25. (lol, yes, out of the 39, I liked those two. She must have written those on a good night.) I feel like they kind of dropped all of the other outside nonsense and kind of focused on just human things. I think there’s a good writer in her, just not when she’s trying to be all dystopian and… cool.

-Al’s storyline. And while Tris’s initial responses to Al made me rage, the story arc of Al really did move me emotionally and in a way that I was proud of Roth for doing so. Like cathartically I’m glad I felt these things over it.

-Some of her little details were nice touches. I enjoyed this particular one where Four was under a blue spotlight in a dark hallway it she described how his eyes were black and shadowed while the rest of his face eerily lit (or something like that.) Just here and there were some bits of description I liked.

And since I can’t think of anything else, let’s just move on. I like how it didn’t take me forever to read, but big font and spacing isn’t really a pro that counts for this.

Jeez this is starting to turn into Divergent: The Review, a novel by Wigs. But oh well. You can stop at any time. But I can’t. Not yet. I have to get this out of my head.

So here’s what I have issues with. And hey, if in book 2 she fixes some of these issues and answers some of the questions, great. I don’t care. Because someone can tell me “oh but we learn about that in book 2!” all they want but that doesn’t change the fact that after book 1 I’m thinking to myself “well that was completely stupid.” If you can’t convince me from book 1 to keep going then we’ve got a problem, right?

So as you already probably know, this book is about this dystopian society that is divided up into five factions, based on personality traits, point being that you are assigned a career/lifestyle based on what you’re like. And that’s fine. I can believe that. I can believe that a dystopian society would force you into choosing a limited amount of careers based on what you excel in. My issue is that this society is completely dysfunctional. And I know that we’re supposed to be on the cusp of collapse and all, but there is a difference between dystopian and dysfunctional. A dystopian is scary for us, because ideally, it is supposed to be believable. We can believe The Hunger Games is possible because people would totally watch a reality show where people fight to the death. If you put that on tv right now, thousands, I’m sure, would watch it. In the case of Divergent, my issue is that this society is unbelievable. I’m not convinced that there was a way society could get to this point, because the details are so minimal and poorly thought out. Everything is very homogenized and simplified thusly into these factions and these careers (using the information given to us):

Abnegation (selfless people): healthcare, politics

Dauntless (brave people): guards, police

Erudite (knowledgeable people): research, reporting (and one would guess teaching?)

Amity (friendly people): farming

Candor (honest people): lawyers, and…?

Okay so seriously what does Candor even do? 1/5 of this society is lawyers? I don’t think so. I would have thought they would have at least done news/newspapers but we’re told that it comes from Erudite so I don’t even know. They seem pointless. Anything I can think of that might go with them is really better suited to Erudite.

And wait a minute. Healthcare is given to Abnegation? Wait really? Shouldn’t it be given to Erudite, since being in the medical field requires almost a decade of studying to learn how to do it? Or what, is it like homeopathic healthcare? How helpful.

You CANNOT tell me that one faction rules the government. There is NO WAY that when they set up the system people were like you know what's a good idea? Putting one group in all the power. That's ridiculous to say that something like that happens in Future America. There's no way they wouldn't have put together a system where there is representation from each faction within a council. (Isn't that what the American Revolution was all about? Lack of representation in government? I cannot see everyone saying 'fuck representation! let's all agree to give the government over to theselfless people'....and later being like OH WHOOPS we don't like this!) So the whole main plot of Divergent is based on something that's already broken my suspension of belief.

And what’s with everyone being white collar? And how blue collar jobs are for the factionless, which the author speaks of as if they’re on the same level as crazy homeless people. I sorely hope she doesn’t think that in real life. Tris speaks about them as if they’re pariahs. Construction workers, bus drivers, gasp, the horror. The villain wants to get rid of them. Oh yes. Oh yes. Get rid of your laborers, what villain who dreams of prosperity DOESN’T get rid of the laborers? Hahaha Roth you’re killing me.

Okay, we need to talk about the train for a second. What. Is with. The Train. Why doesn’t it ever stop? (except for that one time when they rode it to the end of the city.) Why is this train an asshole? Didn’t jump on on time? Oops, you failed. Now you’re homeless. Loser. Oops, you fell off and now you’re dead. Lol we don’t stop the train here, bitch. Learn to live. (For a city that hasn’t seen murders in years, why does nobody give a shit when someone dies falling off the train? If random death isn’t common, why isn’t it horrifying? Why is everyone like just ignore it guys, just ignore it.) If it’s a Dauntless only train, why the fuck doesn’t it actually stop at the Dauntless compound. Oh yea because the Dauntless are stupid and have to make things ~death-defying.~ And how is it that the train tracks are both on the ground in front of the glass building and seven stories up at the roof of the glass building? I guess there’s two sets of tracks even though it wasn’t spoken about like that? Or otherwise the steepest track change in the world, haha.

AND WHY DO THEY LIVE UNDERGROUND? WHY? They had perfectly good empty buildings to refurbish, and instead they spend however many millions of dollars digging a bigass hole in the middle of the city just so people can enjoy some nice sunlight-deprived living. OH NO IT’S JUST BECAUSE TRIS NEEDED TO JUMP OFF A ROOF INTO A BLACK HOLE. Yea okay now it all makes sense what a good idea I’m glad you came up with such a normal reason for an underground compound. Not like that they’re in hiding or privacy or anything sensical like that. Or maybe she just wanted to copy Mockingjay, that too, of course. I can’t forget that.

You know, all of this could have made sense if she just didn’t make it set in our world. She could have chosen, say, a Miyazaki type world where there’s a magical train that doesn’t stop, and a place where the people all live underground, and whatever. But no, this is freakin’ future Chicago. And guess what people. In the future, the trains stop for no bitch, so watch out.

Okay okay I could go on forever about all the stuff I hate but I’m just gonna harp on two more topics and call it quits.

1)Why are the Dauntless so ridiculous? One thinks that a dystopian society would care about their military. Especially considering that in this case, their entire city is surrounded by a guarded fence with barbed wire. Clearly protection is important to them. So whyyyyyyy are the Dauntless, the only source of soldiers, completely undisciplined jackasses? They party it up and dress up like punks from 70s London and ….train to fight MMA style for whatever reason (It’s COOL, Wigs, gosh) but why are they completely out of control? They all act like they’re 15. Let’s sneak out at night and go do shit wooooo! Why aren’t the initiates sent immediately to bootcamp style training, like an actual military. Instead we’re gonna capture the flag and you know, camp activities mixed in with boy-on-girl fist-fighting and knife throwing. And mental training which, while cool (there’s that magic word again), seems to serve no real life application aside from the ridiculous circumstances Roth cooks up. (view spoiler)

2) And how, HOW, HOW is everyone not Divergent? Why does Tris have special snowflake syndrome? We’re told that being divergent is basically having a mind which is suitable for multiple factions, not just one single faction. Which is dangerous etc whatever. And I can buy that, I can, that a dystopian society would want to suppress an individual which has too many skills or whatever butttttt… how is it that SO few people actually have multiple skills. Seeing as things like selflessness and kindness go hand in hand, wouldn’t people be divergent for Abnegation and Amity? And wouldn’t people who speak their mind and are smart, a common pairing, be divergent for Candor and Erudite? And what about the people who’s tests tell them that they belong in one faction, but are allowed to choose another?? Why is that allowed, since it encourages them to learn more skills? (which is discouraged!) If they’re good at their chosen faction, and not the one that they were intended, doesn’t that make them divergent? And if they want to discourage people having multiple functions, why the hell are people allowed to change factions at all? Because if you’re raised one way and then learn a whole new way, aren’t you, in fact, becoming divergent by straddling the two worlds? It’s not like suddenly people forget everything, Christina still has her Candor traits even though she’s in Dauntless. I just don’t understand what seems to be this fatal flaw in Roth’s design. And because of this, I see how sad the wasted potential is. Why ISN’T everyone secretly divergent? Wouldn’t that actually be making a statement on the nature of humans and how you can’t suppress them into single pieces and put them in a box? But no, no, Tris has a special brain. No one can get into her mind. Just like Bella Swan.

Speaking of which, with Tris, who is supposed to be divergent for Abnegation and Dauntless, I can barely find any selflessness traits outside of a what any regular person would do. I found her, in fact, written incredibly selfish, as teenagers are. It seemed that Roth didn’t realize (or did she?) what a jerk she was writing Tris to be (omg why are my friends so jealous of me??? Omg he’s so gross but lol someone likes me that’s so cool.) She also has to point out physical features to add to why she doesn't like people (greasy hair, crooked teeth, stretch marks, pudge....didn't you know that all bad people are also ugly? Duh.)

Ugh I’m sorry I’m going to stop talking, that is enough, Wigs. Basically it comes down to this. I didn’t buy 90% of the stuff I was being fed. Eye-rolling was induced many a time. The ending was just about every cliché from an action movie I could think of.[AND WHY DID YOU KILL WILL? WHY? YOU SHOOT ERIC IN THE FOOT, PETER IN THE ARM, PEOPLE YOU HATE, BUT THEN WILL, ONE OF YOUR ONLY FRIENDS, IN THE HEAD? IT WASN’T EVEN A RAGE KILL. YOU SPECIFICALLY TOLD US YOU AIMED AT HIS HEAD. RIGHT AFTER YOU SAID YOU KNEW IT WASN’T HIS FAULT. RIGHT BEFORE YOU SAID YOU NEEDED TO WAKE UP ALL THE DAUNTLESS AS THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING. OH YEA THAT’S RIGHT WE NEEDED A KILL-YOUR-FRIEND SCENE. CUZ THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN THESE STORIES, RIGHT?
Ja, Veronica Roth ist ein Suethor. 

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