• Michelle Raab

This shit ain’t right




If you live in a dystopia, do you think to yourself... I’m living in a dystopia. Or. Do you just accept your surroundings as normal? My guess is that mostly you’d just accept it as normal up to a certain point of suffering as long as you had nothing to compare it to or as long as other things distracted you. This makes me wonder: when is the moment someone thinks this shit just isn’t right. Is this why those in power work so hard to gaslight those they control?


In my story, my main character, Tessa, doesn’t think she’s in a dystopia. She just accepts her world as is. By acceptance, I mean she doesn’t question it, really. I don’t mean that she likes it. In her world, she is part of the social elite and with that is an endless parade of… prescribed parades, actually. Lunch has an entire procession that as the spare to the heir of the Chief of the House, she must lead, when she’s the highest ranking person there. As the spare, she is often the highest ranking person at the mundane, daily social events… like lunch. Her parents and older sister have actual work to do, so she’s left to be the ceremonial doll. She longs for more, dreams for something different, but accepts that this is her life.


The social grandeur only serves to reinforce social controls and rankings. The opulence emphasizes the social hierarchy and disparity of the classes, and the threat of humiliation and fear of losing their decadent hedonistic lifestyles keeps the higher ranked denizens clawing each other for gilded crumbs. Tessa’s world becomes shattered as she learns the truth and loses faith in everything she thought was true, when she realizes she may be a pawn in a game she can’t see.


I’m not sure if Tessa ever thinks to herself, Tessa my dear, you live in a dystopia, but I think that she will come to the conclusion: this shit ain’t right on more than one occasion.

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