Super Sad True Love Story

by Gary Shteyngart

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In Super Sad True Love Story, how does Shytengart explore self-image in the digital age?

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Gary Shytengart’s dystopian novel Super Sad True Love Story satirically explores the pitfalls of self-expression in the digital age. In Shytengart’s future, the quest for social media attention and adulation has replaced meaningful face-to-face interactions. In a world based entirely on extrinsic motivators, individuals develop self-images as shallow as the pixels on a computer monitor.

Shytengart describes a culture that has turned social interactions into online promotion. Rate Me Plus collars reward those who collect the most digital points, follow the sponsored trends, and preserve a hive mentality. These vapid interactions replace the need to possess self-awareness, creating a worldwide inability to establish meaningful and personal relationships. Socrates believed the ability to look inward thoughtfully made us human. It can be argued that the emphasis on superficial self-images causes Shytengart’s society as a whole to devolve into something less than human. 

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