It would be a lie for me to say that I really understood what “melodrama” meant before having read the excerpt from ““Harry Potter, the War Against Evil, and the Melodramatization of Public Culture.” I mean I’ve always enjoyed reading the typical teenage book series (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.) but I never really realized just how prominent melodrama was in these series. I just always kind of accepted the fact that good prevailed, and well bad didn’t. However, I now do understand that these “victimized misunderstood hero’s” that really do seem quite “paranoid and delusional to others,” are not just simply characters in teenage book series, but are in fact a part of something bigger. While I agree with the other posts on Harry Potter, and have myself read the Harry Potter series, I have decided to instead use a more recent book series which I think really exemplifies melodrama; that book being Divergent.
Divergent, a book that focuses on the dissolution of a so-called utopia focuses on the life of Beatrice, an ideal example of a “victimized misunderstood hero.” The world in which Beatrice lives in is portioned into five factions, each one devoted to a particular ethic. Each citizen is placed into a faction, either by choice or by test. From the beginning of the book we get a sense that there are “revolutionary working class insurrections,” something that is characteristic to melodrama. Beatrice explains to the reader that she does not feel as though she belongs anywhere, especially not Abnegation (the faction she is in at the start of the book). She talks about how her “instincts are not the same,” and how “it is so easy for him (her brother),” and that “it should be easy for [her].” The faction system in Divergent is meant to keep order within the society, and those who do not fit into a faction, are either factionless, or in some cases divergent, meaning that they fit into all the factions. Beatrice, of course realizes that she in fact divergent, and as melodrama says, “ she doesn’t change but [her] circumstances change, or [her] true identity is revealed.” After her identity is revealed, we learn that divergent's are in fact being hunted down by the authorities, and as is mentioned in the article, “Melodramatic hero’s are misunderstood by authority.” Throughout the book we are left to wonder who is causing such chaos within the society, and while Beatrice believes it is the Erudite's, most of those around her think she is crazy. However by the end of the book we realize that Beatrice was in fact right and as is said in the article, “the hero’s reward is an acknowledgment that he was right all along, however paranoid, irrational, and antisocial he seemed throughout the plot.” In the end of the series, “goodness is at last recognized,” and we are left satisfied as readers.