What is the setting of Matched by Ally Condie?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Matched takes place in a dystopian future where everything is tightly controlled, and children are matched with their mates by the government as teenagers.

A dystopia is a kind of futuristic speculative fiction where that describes a society where people have tried to make things perfect by designing society.  In this case, the setting is the Society, a futuristic world that has tried to perfect humanity by matching people.

Dystopias like Matched take place in a future that’s just enough like our present to be recognizable.  For example, features like the air train are similar to our own trains, but more sophisticated, faster, and quieter.  We also know that 1940 was considered the distant past, because a compact is considered an artifact from an ancestor.   Even these are carefully controlled.

Though citizens from the past were allowed one artifact each, they are hard to come by.  Unless you had ancestors who took care to pass things along through the years. (Ch. 1)

Of course, as in most dystopias, things are not as wonderful as they seem.  The lack of freedom does not mean a perfect life. The fact that society has problems becomes clear at the Match Banquet when Cassia is matched with two boys by mistake, and learns that one of them is an aberration because his father broke a law.

Aberrations live among us; they're not dangerous like Anomalies, who have to be separated from Society. Aberrations usually acquire their status due to an Infraction. (Ch. 5)

Her life is turned upside down from this point on, and we learn the reality of giving up your personal choices to be made by someone else.  Although it might seem like it is freeing, you are not really setting yourself free. You are imprisoning yourself.  This is the message being sent in Matched.  The critical choice, choosing your spouse, is one you should make yourself, and carefully.  While it would be easier if it was made for you, reality is that that we need to make our own choices.

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