Imagine a perfect world, a world where there are no conflicts and your life is planned out for you from basically the moment you are born, from who most of your friends are, to who you will marry and how many kids you will have. You don't have to worry about anger or strife, but you also don't get to worry about Love or happiness. In this “perfect” world, Love does not exist, Love is stapled as a disease. It, along with every other emotion you have ever felt, gets ripped out of you when you turn 18, and you never have to worry about them again. In the novel “Pandemonium” by Lauren Oliver, it shows us a version of the world where these things are true, a world where everyone is convinced that Love is a terrible disease, one that will indefinitely and undeniably Kill if not removed swiftly, but Lena Morgan Jones, the main character in this novel, does not believe that for a minute. After resisting to be cured, she is thrust into the Wilds, a Free-Zone in between Cured cities, where she learns that there are others like her who are un-Cured and becomes a new, more resilient person.
“This is the world we live in, a world where happiness and order, a world without Love. A world where children crack their heads on fire places and nearly gnaw off their tongues, and their parents are concerned, not heart-broken, frantic, desperate. Concerned, as they are when you fail mathematics, as they are when they're late to pay their taxes” Pg 55. After the cure, people lose all emotions, so they can no longer care for their children as they should, so most children may have deathly illnesses or fatal injury's and the parents still won't feel much for them.
“Droplets, droplets: we are all identical drips and drops of people, hovering, waiting to be tipped, waiting for someone to show us the was, to pour us down a path” pg 56. After the cure, everyone becomes a version of the same person, and everything blends into a sort of sameness, a gray blur that moves through the day. Lena cannot stand any of this, but must force herself to blend in with them, to become on with the sameness that everyone else has bled into.
“I am not born all at once, the new Lena. Step by step – and then, inch by inch. Crawling, insides curled into dust, mouth full of the taste of smoke. Fingernail by fingernail, like a worm. That is how she comes into the world, the new Lena. When I can no longer go forward, even by an inch, I lay my head on the ground and wait to die [...] I am already at my funeral [...] I am in a black tunnel filled with mist, and I am not afraid” pg 6 Lena becomes an new person when she enters the wild, she is born into a new Lena, a new life, a completely different person from the Lena that was, the one on the other side of the Cured fence.
“Hard to find glass around here” she says when I raise my eyebrow at the soup can, and then adds “Bombs.” She says it as though she's in as grocery store and saying Grapefruit, as though it's the most everyday thing in the world. Pg 19 The bombings of the Wilds happened when the Cured's decided they needed to rid themselves of any who opposed them and all those whom were still infected with the Amor Deliria nervosa. Described as “the cleansing fire” by the Cured's.
“you might as well get used to it now” she says with quiet intensity. “Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew . . . Dust” she shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, “There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next.” Pg 21 Lena has to learn to forget everything that was her old life, and all of the people she knew, it's a hard thing for her to do, but she decides it's for the best. That way she can no longer hurt when remembering them. If she can't remember, she can't hurt anymore.
- Daniel Hatenboer