Nuorten lokerointi ja kehittyminen Salla Simukan nuortendystopiaromaaneissa Jäljellä ja Toisaalla

  • Maria Laakso FT, postdoc-tutkija Tampereen yliopisto


Coming of age and classification of adolescents In Salla Simukka’s YA-dystopias Jäljellä and Toisaalla

Finnish YA-author Salla Simukka takes a current societal problem into the center of her novel pair Jäljellä (Left Over, not translated, 2012) and Toisaalla (Elsewhere, not translated, 2012). These novels criticize the current system, where even young children are forced to choose specialized studies and make decisions that affect their whole future. This is a consequence on a modern western information society, where branches of knowledge are differentiated. These theme Simukka’s novels handle with the methods off dystopic fiction.

Both novels depict a dystopic world, where adolescents are classified into groups based on their personality and their talents. Both novels depict a world very much like our own, but the time of the story lies in the near future. As usual to the dystopic fiction the author pics up some existing progressions from the reality and then extends those conditions into a future, and this way the flaws of the current conditions are revealed. In my article I claim, that Simukka’s novels take under critical consideration the whole Western concept of coming of age. Especially crucial is the idea of growth as being something controllable. In western cultures the growing up of an individual is standardized and regulated by institutions and fields of science such us daycare, school, medicine, and psychology. In Simukka’s novels this idea is exaggerated but still recognizable.      

The motif of classifications or sorting the adolescents has lately been popular in YA-fantasy and YA-dystopia. Simukka’s novels borrow from two bestsellers: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter -series (1997–2007), and Veronica Roth’s Divergent-series (2011–2013). These examples seem to prove, that the idea of adolescents of being sorted or being classified is important in contemporary genre fiction targeting young audiences.  Sorting or classification as motifs seem to be connected to the contemporary understanding of youth and growing up.

In this article I consider the classification motif in Simukka’s novel. I consentrate especially to the connections between the motif and the wider theme of growing up. I examine the motif beside the Western ideas of growth and coming of age. Besides that I also study the different genre frames Simukka’s novels use to discuss of growing up in contemporary society. These genre traditions include dystopic fiction, YA-literature and fairytale. In this article I propose, that the classification motif allegorizes the demands set to adolescents in contemporary society but also appeals to the young readers as a fantasy of belonging to the group.


Avainsanat: dystopia, lokerointi, nuortenkirjallisuus, nuoruus, aikuistuminen, sadut, Simukka Salla
joulu 17, 2018
Laakso, M. (2018). Nuorten lokerointi ja kehittyminen Salla Simukan nuortendystopiaromaaneissa Jäljellä ja Toisaalla. Sananjalka, 60(60.), 204-216.