topic: reincarnation and fate in modern YA Lit

12 September 2011

I think this might become a weekly or a monthly thing, but these topics are usually going to be on cliches in Lit, controversial topics, etc.... You know, to keep my blog interesting. ^_^. Today's topic:

reincarnation and fate in modern YA Lit:
Let's start with some common examples.          

Reincarnation is the belief that a the soul is always shifting from one form to another after every lifetime, so that there is no heaven or hell, just a continuous cycle of life and death. 
Some religions, like mine (Hinduism) and Buddhism strongly believe in reincarnation (it's a religious belief) in which the only way to break the cycle is to reach Nirvana, spiritual enlightenment. Now, mind you, in Hinduism, you can be reincarnated into anything based on your karma. Like, if you were a human and a mass murderer in your life, you will be born an ant in your next left, or a rock or a blade of grass. You can be re-born into anything. 

It's apparently a very popular YA topic to write about, and very overused. There are several ways reincarnation is used, like punishment for doing something wrong in a past life or love.

Love is most common. Love triangles, eternal love, immortal enemies. Eternalness is something a lot of people love. I do too. I like the idea of something like love lasting, literally, forever. 

And in many of these novels, when the person someone loves dies, they can't live with out them, and somehow, miracualously, they lover returns in physical form, because we teens are very physical. Is it so wrong for the man or woman you love to die, and you not being able to live with their prescense? It happens in real life, and it bothers me when in fiction, they always come back. ALWAYS. COME. BACK. Seriously! I mean, think of Need by Carrie Jones. Nick dies. Oh no! He's already dead but there must be some way to bring him back. In countless other stories, bless them, it's a very clear fact that you cannot bring someone back from the dead (and I mean dead dead, no coma dead, or a few hours come-back-to-live-been-to-heaven-and-back dead, I mean dead dead). Yet for some reason, it's become such a big thing to bring 'em back from the dead. No. Just, please, no. If you're gonna kill them, leave them dead.

As a reader:
I get tired of reading so many reincarnation-plot-based novels, the idea has lost its luster, if you know what I mean. It's very predictable. The plot line. First, there's a new girl or guy. Meet another girl or guy and feel like they know them. Turns out they knew each other in a past life, they learn that they knew each other in a past life, and embark on a journey against the forces of nature. I mean, really! It's really unreasonable. First of all, say the person (character) knows what they did in a past life, and they apparently, oh I don't know, figure out about a curse that makes them repeat the same thing no matter what, because oh hey, it's fate. Well lets see. I'd be smart enough not to make the same mistake and change fate because fate is not set in stone. Fate is something you control. I mean, I'm getting enough of these weak, idiotic heroines "falling in love" (more like lust, but that'll be for another day) and knowing their mistakes, but being stupid enough to repeat it.

As a writer:
This is a cheap way to get out of really writing. It's a short-cut. Since this has turned into reincarnation as a form of "love" in YA, let's talk about that. What ever happened to getting to know a person, having conversations, hanging out, and falling in love in the process? No, writers think it's okay to have "instant love" NO! That's a BIG no no! Different people, different life, different interests, and different love. First of all, was it really love in the first place? Second of all, the character is in a new life, he (or she) isn't exactly like he or she was in the past life. They're not the same person! They may have the same soul, but not the same person. This is a...a very lazy way to tell a story. The characters are usually very weak, because you don't have the indirect characterization, or even the direct characterization, that writers use to build a strong, round character. Because of instant love, you lose the character. The plot is weak because you don't know the character, and you're using reincarnation as an easy-way-out-of-it plot. I'm not saying it's a bad plot overall, I'm just saying that if you want to write about it, make it well formed, clear and somewhat realistic and detailed and thorough. It's fiction, I get it, but it can only go so far.

Case In Point: Reincarnation is being overused and sullied. It's going to be a laughing stock soon. That needs to change.

To my readers: How do you feel about reincarnation in modern day YA-Lit? Do you like it or love it? Do you find paranormal reincarnation stories more interesting than normal girl-meets-boy YA stories.

2 thoughts:

  1. GREAT POST! It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately and you've really hit all the marks!

  2. I like this. Exactly why I say a significant percentage of YA lit is made for the indulgence of the teenage sense rather than the engagement of the teenage mind.


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