A Novel of Reality

Joriel Ann N. Aranda STEM 2


Some of the similarities of Shteyngart’s dystopian near-future and the present world is the number of people who are youth-obsessed these days are increasing. People will do anything to make them look younger as they grow older. Another is the use of devices and social media to communicate with other people. In the novel, people are using a device called äppärät and site called GlobalTeens. Like in the present, we have smartphones and Facebook, Twitter , etc. And in the novel, Lenny seemed to be the last person reading books in America which is close enough to our present world. People who are reading books are also decreasing in number. Honestly, I agree that we are really heading to a post-literate age. Media-saturated environment and short attention spans massively affected our interest and ability to read books. Yes, small devices are truly more convenient than books, yet, books provide a special experience of reading which is not appreciated by many nowadays. Lenny and Eunice are drawn together though they are two opposing sides because Eunice’s characteristics like being a caring lady provides the needs of Lenny. And vice versa. I think their similarity is that the two of them are both independent in their own sides. Though they are opposing each other’s side. The ambiance in the Lenny’s lines ” at the end of the busted rainbow, at the end of the day, at the end of the empire.”, is sorrowful. Hence, it might really mean that we are at the end of an era. With the unhopeful brutal truths that are merely seen in this world, I really think we are. Since change is constant, why not let it be? Losing the assurance of death, would affect the dynamic of society by, not just in population, but also in its progress. If today we already can’t start any change, how can we guarantee that with having the same people over again for a lifetime would actually change anything? The epistolary approach of the novel gave me an experience of having two different opposing worlds happening at the same time.

The value of youthfulness in the novel was noticeable in the desires of the people to be young, the employer of Lenny and the division and treatment of the society to the elderly and the young. Lenny and Joshie both admire the youthfulness of Eunice. Though Eunice still have the Asian culture of having respect to the elders, the society may have lost it. Lenny was described as a twentieth century man in a twenty first century world because he doesn’t fit in the said world. He lives in the past. He is too old for the future. Science fiction was seen in the parts when Lenny is talking about how their company works for the extension of one’s life. Romance was noticeable in the relationship of Lenny and Eunice. And dystopian fantasy is manifested in the American military adventurism. The events happening in their country such as war and their government. These are important because these are related to realities of today’s world. Though the world seems difficult to manage, we should not take it very seriously for it can lead us to an unwanted results. Humor is relevant in evaluating and coping up with this world because it can save us from losing our sanity. Immigrants’ importance are also manifested in the novel. Immigrants help in the increase of America’s GDP. Immigrants also help in the boost demand of local consumer goods which is very beneficial to the country itself. Social media in our world have both benefits and pitfalls. Benefits in terms of communication. It is truly convenient and faster. It is also where we can gain more confidence and express ourselves. Yet, there are also a lot of pitfalls such as too much private information sharing might lead to one’s misery. No matter how beneficial it is to society, it can also greatly downgrade our humanity if overused.


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