Delirium connects with readers

Emily S.

Staff Writer

Imagine living in a world where you can have no contact with the opposite sex, you must stay separated at all times, no talking to each other, no looking at each other, and never ever falling in love with each other.  And then, imagine turning 18 and being forced to get cured; imagine being forced to allow surgeons to remove the part of your brain that makes you capable of loving, getting scarred forever. Of course to people today, this sounds anything but pleasant; in an extremely romanticized society, the idea of living without love seems impossible.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a set of three breathtaking novels set in a dystopian society where love is known to be a disease. The disease, commonly called the deliria, is known to be deadly and is avoided by all people at all cost. However, love is very similar to light, as it is nearly impossible to keep it out. As seen with the main character, Lena Haloway, love will always find a way to seep through the cracks and eventually consume someone’s entire being.

At the start of the book, Lena Haloway is the complete package: she studies hard, helps around the house, and absolutely cannot wait to be cured. Lena is looking forward to the cure possibly more than the rest of her peers even, for she cannot wait for the safety and stability the cure offers people with a “dark” past. Early in life Lena’s mother committed suicide after being “infected” with the deliria.  This event has scarred Lena’s entire life; she has been haunted by the ghost of memories of her mother and consistently shunned by the rest of society. However, the cure will resolve all of Lena’s problems, for the little three-point scar will allow Lena to once again be accepted by society and allow her to accept herself.

Lena’s cure is symbolic to what all teenagers want in life: acceptance, popularity, even closure. This struggle to fit in society allows readers to connect to the main character Lena and her best friend Hanna on a new, deeper level. Hanna, another major character, is the symbolic rebel for the first part of the series; she is the one who originally draws Lena away from the comfort of society.  Hanna, along with Alex, transforms Lena into a new person, teaching her of love and possibilities that lie outside of society, but no one would have guessed Lena could have ever actually run away.

Alex, the little ray of light that peaks through the cracks, eventually consumes Lena. She learns to love him without even learning anything about him. EDelirium ES 2ventually though, the secrets come out; as Lena’s cure procedure draws closer, she discovers more and more about Alex and the deliria. Lena learns that Alex is from the wilds, the unrestricted areas outside of society, where it is said no one except animals and savages can be found living. Lena learns of music and art and poetry, and she falls in love with it all.  More than being a romance novel though, this book is about finding oneself in a society where individuality is not accepted.

A nationally acclaimed novel and New York Times best-seller, Delirium is claiming the minds of teenage girls and boys all over the world. Delirium is a page turner, a book readers stay up reading until 4 am; they cry with the characters, laugh with them, and fall in love with them. “I loved it. I read all three books in the series within a week and fell in love right as Lena did,” says sophomore Alyssa Hall. This book provides an escape from everyday life, as it allows readers to forget all the at-home drama and become fully consumed by the novel. Readers will also grow with it; they will learn to find themselves and relate to the characters on a new, deeper level. Never before have readers been able to connect with characters in such a different setting, but now they can, all whilst reading a superbly written novel too!

Oliver uses poetic language along with breathtaking descriptive language in order to create beautiful mental image for the readers throughout the entire book. When there is a sunset in the book, readers see a sunset themselves; they can smell the scent of the ocean and feel the warmth of the characters’ bodies. Oliver’s splendid use of language allows readers to easily slip into the books and feel everything: anger, fear, wanting, anguish, happiness, excitement, and most importantly, love.

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side. Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.” – Lena Ella Haloway

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