Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic Hero

Considering I'm deeply immersed in Dystopian August, a whole month on my blog dedicated to spotlighting past, present and future dystopian and post-apocalyptic lit (and featuring interviews with many of us Brave New Worders), I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good hero in these types of novels.

Let's make a list, shall we?

1. Questions the status quo
This is especially important in a restrictive dystopian society.  Our heroes want to know why writing by hand is forbidden (MATCHED by Ally Condie), why everyone uses forgetting clinics (MEMENTO NORA by Angie Smibert) and why love needs to be eradicated (DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver).

2. Sacrifices self for a loved one
Like Katniss volunteering to fight THE HUNGER GAMES in Prim's place, our heroes have a higher calling than mere self preservation.

3. Good at finding food
The post apocalypse is all about finding food and of course our heroes share their bounty with others, whether it's a rare can of pears (THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE by Jeff Hirsch), a forgotten can of cherries (ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre) or a whole underground bunker (THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy).

4. Can run really fast
Especially helpful for surviving zombie-induced apocalypses or the monsters of the glade (THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner).

5. Takes the time to get involved in a love triangle
Because dystopias are not only about freeing society and post-apocalypses are not only about survival, they are also about becoming a person who can love and be loved.  And the reader needs a "team" to root for, don't they?  #teampeeta

What would you add to the list?

Lenore Appelhans is the author of LEVEL TWO (Simon & Schuster BFYR/Fall 2012), an dystopian afterlife thriller.  Visit her blog and/or follow her on twitter.


  1. Lenore, I love your list--especially that detail about the love triangle :)

  2. Thanks Elizabeth! It was really me panicking at the last minute not knowing what the heck to write today!

  3. This is an awesome post! Love it!

  4. TEAM GALE!!! :D

    I like #5. Love is most important!

  5. Thanks Jodi! I probably should've added "can fight dragons" or "has a superpower"