SparkNotes Blog

8 Weirdly Specific Things That Happen in Every Dystopian Novel

Whenever you crack open a dystopian novel (you know, to distract yourself from the real-life dystopian nightmare that we wake up to daily), there are a couple things you can expect. For instance, you can expect everyone to be wearing drab clothing. It’s like literary dystopias are a party, and the dress code is “gray tunics, maybe a beige henley.” I get why it happens. I do! This is a post-apocalyptic society where everybody’s fighting just to survive another season—no one has time to go around looting the local Abercrombie and Fitch!

But sometimes it feels like once you’ve read one dystopian novel, you’ve pretty much read them all, and it’s because of specific things just like these.