When it comes to reading, I have many guilty pleasures. One is reading the dystopian/science fiction young adult novels that are so popular now (I finished off The Hunger Games series months ago). I just finished Matched by Ally Condie. Matched takes place in a future world where nothing is left to chance and fate is controlled by an all-knowing, very powerful government. The main character, Cassia, is likeable, although the love triangles that always seem to be found in these types of books are a bit tiresome. Still, poetry plays a central part of this book, which is why I’m writing about it here.
In this world, the government has decided that society has become too cluttered, so many material things have been taken away from the people — including pieces from the art world. Children are educated in art by knowing that there are 100 pieces of art they should know: 100 paintings, 100 songs, and yep, you guessed it, 100 poems. The rest have been lost.
The book takes a turn when Cassia’s dying grandfather gives her a poem that has not been found in the “100 poems.” What poem is this, you may ask? It’s Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” In this world, Cassia can be arrested for merely carrying this poem around.
I’m not going to go into the other plotlines of the book, or the fact that yes, this book is part of a trilogy (which is the big craze in the young adult literature world — everything has to come in 3’s). Instead, I leave you with this question: what 100 poems would you keep for future generations? You would make this decision knowing that these children would not know other poems — only these 100.