1. In the novel Matched by Ally Conde, the characters live in a futuristic ‘Society’ which everyone thinks is good, although they have seen nothing different. The quotation ”The Society doesn't make mistakes" (page 36) suggests that the Society created by officials is a utopia. The officials have complete control of everything and have never failed to reach a goal. The Society appears to be perfect to the citizens, but is actually dystopian. The Society chooses everyones destiny. Officials decide who you love, where you work, and when you die. In addition, the Society knows everything about everyone. They are all monitored. Their calories are moderated, their dreams are recorded, and everything within their homes is on surveillance at all times. For example, when Cassia chose her dress for her matching ceremony, the cashier said "That's the one you were most likely to pick. Your personal data indicated it, and so did general psychology" (page 25). This idea of a perfect Society has affected the protagonist, Cassia Maria Reyes, immensely thus far. She has already been ‘matched’ with Xander, but the microcard (contains all background information) she received displayed a photo of Ky, a boy she goes to Second School with. This worries Cassia to full extent but she can’t do anything about it because the Society will not let her tell anybody what happened (other than her grandfather who was having his death ceremony the next day). Since the Society does not make mistakes, Cassia worries she may have more than one match.

2. Very important physical objects in the novel include air trains, microcards, ports and artifacts. An air train is similar to the magnetic trains in China in terms of its functioning. They are the only means of transportation in the Society and they have stops everywhere in every city. The air train shows the geographical location that the novel takes place in because it is evidence that the land must be very flat all throughout the society for it to function. The fact that the air train is the only transportation and picks people up everywhere must mean that the society is much like a city and very industrialized. The microcard is a chip that each person has containing all of their background information and basically has their whole life on one small device. Microcards reveal the occupations and daily manner of living of every citizen. The microcard is similar to Multivac, in that it knows everything about everyone. The time period in which the novel takes place can be seen by the invention of the port. Every house has a port: a device which takes video surveillance for the officials as well as reads microcards. In the novel, Cassia states that in her home ”[She’s] never really alone; the port hums in the background, keeping track, keeping watch" (page 33). The port is such an advanced piece of technology that it shows the novel must be set in the very distant future. Lastly, the artifact is an item of any kind that is carried by the characters. Each character is allowed only one artifact at all times. Many characters’ artifacts are momentos of their religion or a memory of their grandparents. Artifacts within the novel can reveal the general environment of the characters. These physical objects (air trains, microcards, ports and artifacts) are essential to the setting of the work and each represent a specific element of the setting.
 


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