I figured I would read the Divergent series, since the movie was fun and I can picture Theo James being pretty as I read. Total win.
See? sooooooooo prettttyyyyyyyyyyy............. *ahem*
And I figure that if I lived in that world, I would be an Erudite legacy. By the same token, if I lived in Harry Potter world, I would be a Ravenclaw legacy. But neither of those thoughts makes me happy or comfortable. I would chafe against being defined by one characteristic. I mean, I can't even commit to one fandom enough to put stickers of it on my car or get a license plate. If I ever went to a con, I would have about 50 costumes to change into depending on my mood. I had a horrible time choosing a major because I hated being pinned to ONE interest. When I take the Myers Briggs personality test, I usually end up with at least one x, if not two (I ALWAYS get super-strong NF. So I guess I have ONE defining characteristic).
So, when books depict these societies where people are divided based on one defining characteristic, I am fascinated. How can there not be more people who don't fit anywhere? I'm shocked that divergents are considered rare. I'm sure I would be one, and i'm not anything special.
And in Harry potter, there isn't a house for people who confuse the heck out of the sorting hat. How can that be? And the answer is not that the hat lets you decide (as it does for Harry), because I wouldn't be able to decide. I mean, I ended up in the non-magnet high school and miserable because I couldn't choose between the arts magnet, the science magnet, and the language magnet. I can't even pick Spice Girl to identify with. When buzzfeed quizzes have a question about picking the word that most describes you, I have to close my eyes and point at the screen to choose because they all seem equally plausible.
Am I just stranger than I realize? Are others happy to be placed with others who are similar to them based on a single characteristic? Do other people feel that they have a single defining characteristic? That certainly seems to be the case in these books, and in the fandom. People are thrilled to pledge allegiance to a single house or faction.
And placement based on a particular skill or characteristic seems to be a common trope in both utopian and dystopian fiction (even though I can't find a page for it on tvtropes.com — if somebody can help and point me to one, I would be grateful), with those who find the limitations binding extremely rare. While in dystopian literature the separations are a way to control the populace, in other forms of literature they are a way of providing a place, a home, a family, for each individual.
Are we all, according to literature, sheeple (just, please, don't wake up the sheeple) who are happy to have our lives defined and prescribed for us? Or is that simply how we see each other, while knowing without a doubt that each of us is the one free thinker in the universe?
These are the random thoughts that run around in my head.