Literature / After

School has become a Prison. No one Knows why. There's no way to stop it.
-the back cover
After is a Young Adult book written by Francine Prose.

Tom is a sophomore at Central High, one of the “smart jocks” a normal guy at a normal school. And during math class, that normalcy shatters. A school the next town over is shot up by angry students, and in the wake of this tragedy, school at Central begins to change. A Grief and Crisis counselor, Dr Willner, takes over, instituting new rules at every turn. Metal detectors, 'random searches', a ban on things like Chewing Gum, hats, even the color red. At first the students make their compromises, but when those that do not comply begin to vanish, Tom realizes that nothing good can come of sacrificing freedom for safety.

Provides examples of:

  • From Bad to Worse: The new rules get progressively more insane.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The new rules; as things get progressively worse, the school begins banning anything that could possibly be construed as rebellious, surveying everything students do, and even sending rebels to "Operation Turnaround"... all while claiming that it's for their own good.
  • Parental Betrayal: Many, due to their having been brainwashed.
  • Politically Correct History: The school slowly starts to try to brainwash the students. One of the protagonist's friends points out that the documentary playing on the bus that day is on World War II, and was stating that the atom bombs were dropped on Japanese wilderness areas. He says, "Dude, Listen to that. I don't think that's true." followed by another friend asking, "How stupid were we?"
  • The Quisling: It's mentioned that some students will report others.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Any students who try to fight back get sent to "Operation Turnaround".
  • The Stoner: Silas. Which doesn't end well for him...