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Written by Shyla Minocha
America Singer is the 16-year-old protagonist of “The Selection”. She lives in the dystopian world of Illea, which is the country of America after the fictional World War 3. This world has divided it’s citizens into eight castes, one being the highest caste of nobility and eight being the lowest caste. America’s family belongs to the fifth caste and make their living off arts. America is a musician who sings and plays several instruments. She is extremely skilled and can play music from memory. She is a romantic who risks the strict Iilea law by sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, Aspen who is a Six. They meet in secret t night and plan a future together, she wants to marry him and have several children. America is willing to suffer through poverty worse than her current state to be with Aspen, she is not materialistic or afraid of work and hardship. She is ready to sacrifice everything for her love, until she is chosen to participate in the selection – a completion to win the heart of Illea’s Prince Maxon and become the Queen. America refuses to change who she is and sticks to her humble roots throughout her time at the palace. She is uncomfortable with the abundance of luxury surrounding her, and prefers simplicity. She chooses to socialize with her maids, identifying with the lower classes more than the upper classes around her. Her kindness and beauty endear her to Prince Maxon and they strike up a friendship which leads to romance. America has a strong and brave character, which is seen with the way she reacts to rebel attacks. She is caring and compassionate, and refuses to conform to social norms regarding classes – she treats lower classes equally. She loves her family and is especially close to her younger sister May and her father. Her honesty and authenticity make her a favorite of the Illea’s citizens during the competition as well as of Maxon’s. She is not vain and always downplays her beauty.
Prince Maxon Schreave
Prince Maxon is the 19-year-old Crown Prince of Illea. America’s preconceived notions of him as an uptight boring figurehead are shattered by their first informal meeting. He is kind, compassionate and patient. Maxon is well educated and concerned with the welfare of his people. He is involved in the running of the country and works closely by his father’s side. America opens up his eyes to the suffering of lower castes and he constructs a plan to assist the castes. He treats all the contestants with respect and kindness. He reveals that he has had little experience with women before the competition, hence tends to be nervous around them especially when they are emotional. He is good-natured and humble, willing to accept America’s criticism and views with an open mind. Maxon has a sense of humour and can be playful. He is a romantic who hopes to find his future wife in the completion, and love her. He loves America and allows her to stay in the competition despite the knowledge that she has feeling for another man.
Aspen is America’s secret boyfriend. His family belongs to the caste of Six, and are poor labourers. After the death of his father, Aspen become the head of his family and takes on a great deal of responsibility to ensure that they are taken care of and fed. He is hardworking and selfless – willing to make sacrifices on behalf of his family. He is very poor, but loves America enough to save up for their future together. It is because of his deep love for her that Aspen lets America go, not wanting to let her suffer as a Six the way his family did. After America goes to the palace for the selection, Aspen is drafted into the armed forces and sent to serve in the palace as a guard. He is described as extremely good looking and attracts the attention of several women. He is kind, caring and still loves America despite ending their relationship.
America’s father is a kind, gentle man from whom she inherits her sharp mind and tongue. He loves America very much and is her favorite aren’t. His easy going, patient nature is a sharp contrast to his wife’s demeanor. He loves his daughter enough to allow her to marry below her caste and wants her happiness above all else. He represents safety to America.
America’s mother has a strained relationship with her daughter. She is the one who pushes America to sight up for the Selection and resorts to bribing her to do so. She is the mother of five children and wants more for her family. She is not content with being a Five and yearns for Americas success in the Selection which would elevate their status. She is strong willed and tough, and wants what is best for her children.
Marlee is America’s closest friend in the competition. She was born a Four and is a friendly, good-natured, kind girl who gets along well with others. America thinks Marlee would make a good Queen with her faithfulness and compassion, and tries to get Maxon to notice her. However, Marlee is not very inclined towards a relationship with Maxon which hints at her having feelings for another man.
King Clarkson Shreave
King Clarkson Shreave King Clarkson is the ruler of Illea. He is a dominant man with and a capable ruler. He is smart, but not the most enigmatic or charming man. He is not sensitive and can be harsh, even with his own family. He contrasts sharply with his gentle wife and is clearly the disciplinarian in the family.
Queen Amberly Shreave
Queen Amberly gained her title through the selection several years ago. She was once a Four which makes her more compassionate to lower castes than her husband. She is a gentle, composed, regal woman who adores her son and is a source of comfort to him. Amberly had several miscarriages hence treasures her son very much. She is described as a beautiful, graceful woman.
Anne, Mary, Lucy
They are America’s three maids in the palace. They assist her in every way and quickly become more like friends and confidant than servants. They are rooting for her to win the competition. Anne is the leader of the batch, an orphan taken into the palace. Mary was born in the palace. Lucy is the most timid of them all and suffers from recurring panic attacks whenever the palace is attacked. She was sold to the palace and many years ago was sexually assaulted by a rebel who dragged her off. The three of them complement each other, love America and keep her grounded. They bring out her caring and compassionate side.
Celeste is a contestant in the completion who is a Two. She is beautiful and cunning, skilled at manipulating people and has single minded focus to win over Maxon and get the crown. She makes it clear that she is willing to play dirty to get what she wants, and constantly puts down and sabotages other contestants. She is jealous of America’s position as Maxon’s favorite. She is self-centered and selfish.
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