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Depiction of Dystopian Society in 'Stranger Things' and 'Legend'

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Dystopian novels within literature hold an interesting genre that lets reader’s minds enter another reality that isn’t what one would call ordinary. With a literature like this existing, it allows readers to expand their minds with new knowledge and actually make people question if dystopian is really in the future. The novel Legend by Marie Lu is a thrill filled novel about pain, family, and fighting the republic. Stranger Things is a TV series directed by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, and it is mainly about a group of young children who witness supernatural forces and while being confused, the secret government exploits them. The TV series focuses on the investigation on a young boy, Will Byrers’s disappearances while supernatural events are occurring around the town. What is the main attraction of the show is the appearance of a girl with psychokinetic abilities who helps the group of friends find their friend.

Stranger Things share various goals with the novel Legend, regarding fighting the republic or should we say the system. In the book Legend, Day’s goal was to go against the system because how unfair they are to his kind. Within the novel, Day is a criminal on the run for burglary from the Republic and while doing so; he makes the government look foolish. Later in the novel, June realizes that Day never killed her brother after all and that it was Thomas the entire time. Feeling foolish for ever believing the Republic, she decides to go against them and try to figure out what else they might know.

“The Republic would like everyone to believe that dissenters are rare, but that’s not true. In poor areas like the Lake sector, a lot of people disagree with what the government has been doing”.

Eleven, the young girl with powers, undergoes numerous of experiments, performed by the government, to try to figure out why she is the way she is. After escaping from Hawkins Laboratory, she befriends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas and they become curious about her. Why she had no hair, or why she did not speak. When the boys are in the basement, trying to get answers from the girl about their missing friend, she begins by saying that she is running from “bad men”. Curious, they all set out to figure out what she means and while doing that, the “bad men” are out to find the missing girl. The show turns into one big search party while also digging to find the system’s secrets. Soon enough the police chief gets involved, because the boy’s friends become more worried than ever. They begin to think that their friend Will disappeared maybe to protect them or worse, into Eleven’s world. Attempting to seek answers from the hidden labs, the scientists turn away or threaten to kill anyone who comes near the laboratory. All the experiments led Eleven to rebel from the laboratory thus leading her to the boys.

Being rebellious also follows into the novel Legend. Within the novel, Metias encourages June to “…rebel from inside the system. That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system’. Chief Hopper in Stranger Things states, ‘I know you do experiments on kidnapped little kids, whose parents’ brains you’ve turned to mush. And I know you went a little too far this time and you messed up in a big way.’

June promises to get vengeance against the republic including Thomas for making her believe that her brother’s death was performed by someone else. Much like June and Day, Eleven and one of the boys in the group, Mike Wheeler, begin to grow feelings for each other despite her having powers. Their little crush is nowhere near as important to their friend Will missing, so as they crush they must search as well. June and Day just happen to fall in love with one another despite June assuming that Day killed her brother. Day, as mentioned earlier, happens to be a criminal which isn’t June’s type since she was once so devoted to the Republic. Despite the downfalls, these two relationships are an element that pushes these characters to fight for their beliefs, or that slight push against both systems.

Sacrificing your life, such as June and Eleven, to save the lives of others is something many people could ever do. Whether their future is bright or not, these girls put their own lives on the line for the ones that matter most to them and it is truly impactful. In the novel Legend, Day’s brother John is someone who actually gives his life in order for June and Day to even make it out alive. As John is aware that he will be killed, he loves his brother and just knows Day will become something great with time. In John’s last few moments, he states: “You need more time,’ John says. ‘They want an execution? They’ll get one.’ He starts running away from us. Back down the hall. Back toward the firing squad yard”. In Stranger Things, Eleven makes sacrifices many times for her friends so the scientist won’t ever dare perform experiments on them like they did to her. She refused to put her new pals in danger, and just knew that finding Will was going to be possible with her. After all, only she knew what the upside down was like. According to the little amount she spoke, it was not safe.

Legend is a great dystopian that offers it’s readers an action-filled, edge of the seat, novel with amazing characters and plot. Stranger Things also excellently executes the idea of a dystopian society as well. Both of these texts portray courageous characters that strive to rebel against their government for what has been done to their own people. They choose to stand up for so many people, which I believe is truly impactful. These brave and better yet, female characters, fight through their obstacles with allies for justice and the truth within their fowl systems.  

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Depiction of Dystopian Society in ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Legend’. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
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