CRRP Rough Draft
Doctorow’s For the Win exemplifies characteristics that allow it to fit in the genre of a young adult adventure novel with a slight element of romance. The main characters Yasmin, and Matthew Fong each struggle with poor living conditions and are forced to work under oppressive bosses farming online gold. Doctorow follows normal conventions of adventure by this struggle each leading the main characters on a mission to fight against different enemies. A non-conventional element of romance is present between Leonard and his video game. When this relationship is threatened by his father, Leonard goes to great lengths in order to preserve it. Doctorow chooses to write For the Win in a real world setting with young adults in mind in order to present pressing issues such as unfair labor conditions and a respect for parental authority to young readers in a manner that will be easy to absorb.
In For the Win, Yasmin and Matthew each embark separate yet connected ventures in order to take a stand against their oppression under unfair bosses. Yasmin becomes inspired by a fellow player named Big Sister Nor and leaves her friend’s online “army” in order to join online union workers. The Webblies, as they’re called, are among many who help protect online gold farmers from other groups who are paid to destroy the workers in game and help the farmers fight for fair working conditions. Matthew is the most talented and efficient gold farmer who works in a factory run by Boss Wing. Since Matthew is so valuable, Boss Wing does everything to keep him at the factory. Boss Wing resorts to violent attacks in order to keep him. Doctorow seems to use a key convention of adventure, a struggle between heroes and villains, in order to focus in on unfair working conditions around the world. Yasmin, for example, was able to learn about the strikes because “Webblies from all over the world were tweeting about […] a big strike from a group of gold farmers who’d walked out on their boss, and were now picketing outside of their factories” (Doctorow 69). This demonstration of the internet’s unifying power will inspire some young readers to become more proactive online in order to make a positive change in the world.
Adventure isn’t the only genre present in For the Win. Leonard is a high school student living in Orange County who has a strong attachment to his online video game. His gaming has taken first priority in his life and even has dropped his grades so much that his chances of entering a university are slowly shrinking. Worried about his son, Leonard’s father decided to send him to military school, but out of anger of being separated from his games, Leonard decides to run away from home which ultimately causes him to miss out on seeing his father before he passed away. This theme of parent’s trying to intervening on their child’s relationship is apparent in many Romance novels, however in For the Win this Romantic theme is extremely unconventional since Leonard’s attachment is not a love filled relationship between another human but merely an obsession with his game. Generally in young adult romance novels, the protagonist always finds a way to be with the one to whom they’re attached, under any circumstance. Doctorow uses this unconventional genre convention to pose a theme after Leonard’s father died that you should respect and love your parents before it’s too late.
Doctorow uses adventure and romantic conventions set for young adults in order to present a pressing issue such as unfair labor conditions and to deliver an important theme. Doctorow’s main intent is to inspire readers to use the power of the internet and the unity it brings in order to make a positive change in the world.