connecting themes from the selection and the elite to real life Leah S. 3

The Selection and The Elite by Kiera Cass

In the future monarchy of the US called Illea, the government censors it's people, controls it's people, and allows the higher-class to get away with things.

Government Censorship

Families of imprisoned Egyptian journalists protest.

The government in Illea censors what gets put on the news. They hide rebel attacks and they don't allow things to be broadcast without their permission. In the book, the king arrested journalists for showing a non-approved video over the "weekly report", which is the countries only source of news that is run by the government. This is seen in many countries across our world, including Egypt. This year, two Egyptian journalists were arrested for 'filming without licence', even though there is no law about needing a licence in Egypt. In Illea, the government censors the news so mainly only positive things are presented. This makes the country look strong and powerful in the eyes of it's people. That also seems to be the intention of Egypt, for it has recently become a policy that you can't disgrace the military or police in media, for fear of appearing weak.

Another way Illea censors information is by limiting technology usage. The main character of the book only first discovered that a computer was a thing when she entered the palace. Even then, she needed the prince's permission to use it. And though cell phones are still existent, they're a luxury. Even the Elite girls in the palace have to be given a phone in order to contact home, and these phones are only capable of calling. This is strange, for you would think that in the future technology has been advanced, not wiped out.

This limit of technology also eliminates the threat of social media. Without this quick, easily accessibly form of communication, it is harder for news from one place to get to another. This ensures that widespread forms of revolt are nearly impossible. This relates back to the real world because in Cuba- the 4th 'Enemy of the Internet' country-less than 2 percent of it's population use the internet. In fact, for many people using the internet is illegal. You can get up to 5 years in jail for using the internet illegally. In 2009, Alan Gross, a US contractor who was merely trying to bring internet access to a small community in Cuba, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He served 5 until he was released.

Division between people

The founder of Illea created a caste system with wealthy, well respected people on top and poor, commoners on the bottom. This caste system is heavily enforced and the only way to move up in caste is to make enough money to move up in wealth status, to marry up, or to be drafted into the military. In a caste, only certain jobs and opportunities are available to you. Even if you would be better at something else, you have to abide by the rules of your caste. This eliminates choice for the people of Illea, which gives the government more control because they make your choices for you. While you may think this sort of caste system relates to that of India, the caste system of India is informal and is directly based on their main religion: Hinduism. The Constitution of India actually prohibits any discrimination because of your caste. So while, yes, India does have a caste system, it's not the government who put it into action to ensure control over the country.

However, there can be similarities found in the country of North Korea, where the government chooses your job for you, and one of the most common jobs they assign is that of becoming a soldier.

Another example of division between the people of Illea is the lower castes suffering more from laws of the country than the upper castes. In lower castes, many people can't afford necessities like food, so they are forced to steal. Or they need more hands to work and earn money, so they need to have children, sometimes even illegally. While the laws against these things still apply to the upper castes, they don't matter as much there because they can live comfortably without breaking any laws. The lower castes are also where the rebellions originate, because they know of the conditions of the lower castes and they want to try and change things. This means that there are more police in areas with lower castes to try and prevent rebellions, which also means more police to catch you if you do something illegal. In many ways, the lower castes relate to slaves. Most are house maids, manual laborers, or homeless. While the ones who have jobs get paid, it is but a pittance. As I said above, they get punished more often and likely more severely. And, like the slavery time period in America, there are also those in upper castes who oppose the awful conditions of lower castes and try and stop it and there are those who believe that they are better than the lower castes and that they should never be mixed.

Upper class can get away with things

Going off the points made above, one prime example of the upper class getting away with things in Illea is them getting away with disobeying the abstinence law. In Illea, it's illegal to have sex before marriage. However, a girl in the Two caste told a girl in Five how she breaks this law and how it's normal for people in her caste. Earlier in the story, however, there was mention of a jailbreak where a low-caste pregnant women and a father of seven, both unmarried, were broken out. This shows that the lower castes are punished for the breaking of this law. The upper class can probably get away with things like this because they have enough money to pay people and enough of a reputation to intimidate people into keeping quiet. This is reflected in life, too. One of the most recent examples of this is Donald Trump's lawyer paying a women to keep her past affair with Donald Trump secret. Because he's so high up in the food chain, the women accepted for fear of them doing something to her if she didn't oblige.

Another way our world has gone awry that is also a possibility, but not yet fact, in Illea, is high-up people getting away with serious things like sexual harassment. In the new reform of #MeToo, women are speaking up about their experiences of being sexually harassed by powerful men. People like Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar were found guilty of harassment sometimes years after it happened. This is because the victims who did speak up were disregarded or mocked, and the other victims were afraid their allegations would be 'handled' in the same way, so they kept quiet. People like Donald Trump have made this fear true for some, sometimes even saying that he wouldn't have harassed a women because she "wasn't pretty enough". In Illea, it would be easy for high caste men to harass low caste women because it would be his word against hers if she were to ever speak out about it.


Created with images by Taton Moïse - "the door of fear"

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