“The Testing Served Its Purpose”: High-Stakes Testing as a Method of Categorization and Control in Young Adult Dystopian Novels
Imported from ProQuest Lorenzo_ilstu_0092N_11295.pdf
In “‘The Testing Served its Purpose’: High-Stakes Testing as a Method of Categorization and Control in Young Adult Dystopian Novels,” I examine representations of high-stakes testing in the Divergent, Legend, and Testing trilogies using educational, cultural studies, and dystopian/utopian scholarship. In chapters one and two, I examine each society’s system of high-stakes testing and the ideological indoctrination and physical repression used by those in power to maintain control of the citizenry, respectively. In the third chapter, I analyze the ways in which the state’s indoctrination, coupled with an exaggerated focus on the success or failure of specific individuals, creates competition among peers and deflects blame from the State. Ultimately, I conclude that these trilogies support the need for overlapping subject positions through the narrative pattern examined in chapter four. I argue that this narrative pattern implies that subjectivity should be established in dialogic interaction with others and the regime in order to produce gradual, realistic change. However, the continued emphasis on the individual as a catalyst for change undermines the necessity of productive interactions between the regime, the masses, and the privileged individual savior.