Elements Of Dystopian Society In How Far Can You Go

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??? As dystopia is defined as a worst possible world, many people perceive it as something distant and non-existing because it can always be worse than it already is. However, there are also many obscure elements of dystopia, such as oppression, misery and conditioning, which may pass unnoticed. These elements are present in many seemingly normal and desirable social systems and institutions. David Lodge’s How Far Can You Go? is a depiction of oppressive Roman Catholic Church and its impact on lives of many young individuals, who manage to break free from their strict conditioned upbringing, but still remain enslaved by it. Lodge’s novel introduces a group of young people who live in a 1950s Catholic society and whose existence is marked by fear of living and dying in a state of sin. They are all part of a game called Salvation, in which the main goal is “to get to Heaven and avoid Hell” (Lodge 6). In this game the figure of God resembles Big Brother – the youth is under constant surveillance and “everything [they do or think is] subject to spiritual accounting” (Lodge 6). Catholics are taught that “God does not only control the afterlife, [but he] also controls this [life]” (Lodge 17), just like Big Brother is in control of everything. This…show more content…
The main premise of the Catholic upbringing is “do what is good without questioning” (Lodge 3). One of the problems with this premise is the concept of “good”. Catholics students are supposed to “set an example to other young people by their purity of mind and body” (Lodge 27), however, it is impossible to stick to all the rules of purity because that is “against human nature, especially where sex [is] concerned” (Lodge 39). Young people have problem deciphering what is good due to lack of knowledge. Naturally, they turn to priests, as they are supposed to be their spiritual guides, but they are given answers which are vague and usually not helpful at
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