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Thursday, July 14, 2016
Novels Help Us Purge Without Risk or Regret
too many movies inspire me. I recently
saw the sequel to Independence Day
and was reminded of how great the original was by how bad this 20-year
follow-up is. How does Hollywood
green-light such familiar trash? However, one sequel that just came out and
was done well is the third installment of The
is a fantastic series of films that violently explores a theme that enlivens
theater-goers. The premise is this: A futuristic America is overpopulated and
financially challenged to take care of its weakest and poorest. A new set of founding fathers “saves” the
nation by creating a one-night event each year where citizens can commit any
criminal act they desire with immunity – provided it’s not perpetuated against
high-ranking government officials or government buildings. Rape, robbery, murder, and mayhem are the
norm during the nightmarish evening.
movie touches upon numerous issues, including racism and classicism, but it
also cuts to the core of human nature.
Do we, at our deepest hearts, want to commit atrocities against all
kinds of people who hurt us, disappoint us, or otherwise represent some
deficiency? People killed bosses,
parents, and authoritative figures. They
took out rivals and those who were different from them. It’s amazing anyone was left standing in this film.
movie is a good defense for why people write and read novels that delve into
themes of violence, lust, greed, and behavior that we otherwise can’t
perpetuate or tolerate.
the world is slowly moving towards a purge-like existence. Acts of terrorism are becoming the norm and
mass shootings by the unhinged are regular occurrences. How will authors compete with the dark
reality of life?
embrace films like The Purge or dystopian
novels like The Hunger Games, because
we want to explore the ugliest side of humanity without getting ourselves
bloodied. We want the adventure of being
in danger but would never actually desire a chance to confront evil so close up.
take us to where we can’t go otherwise, to where we can’t afford to be, and
they allow us a safe journey every single time.
The Purge is seen by some
as just an excuse for gore, mayhem, and hatred to rage. Exactly.
The movie is our outlet, like the novel, to feel a part of the aspects
of life we’d never really want to risk our life, freedom, or dignity over. I couldn’t really kill off the people I can’t
stand, but it’s another to contemplate such a thing, and to share the
experience with fellow movie-goers.
want to live in a cartoon, where a character is blown up in one scene only to
return as good as new in the next one.
Novels let us live –and die – a thousand different lives. Novels exist so a real purge never has to take place.