Fear In Dystopian Literature

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Fear takes many different forms, but in any world that is less than perfect, fear is present and often motivates desperate people to do desperate things. That is why in dystopian literature, fear is a powerful tool to drive the main characters to take action which moves the story along or in other cases prevents them from taking important action. The fear of being watched is explored as a powerful preventative measure in the Panopticon model, and a similar phenomenon occurs within Oryx and Crake for Jimmy’s mom. However, for other characters, such as Katniss in The Hunger Games, fear provokes important actions. We can also see in these books how a fear for other people often motivates bold action. Fear has its roots in the dystopian genre,…show more content…
Almost everyone feels some kind of fear on a daily basis, whether it is that panic that is felt when a step gets missed on the descent down a staircase or a phobia of spiders. In a way, the fact that the characters are scared in a world that the reader would be scared of makes them more relatable, contributing to the dystopian characteristic of being in a world that is somewhat familiar. But even more so, the connection between fear and dystopian forms of media is the overwhelming control that fear has. The fact is not that they feel fear, it is that their lives are ruled by fear, even if nothing inherently bad happened because of their fear; their actions are dictated by the fear they feel. Even looking at the larger picture, many of the foundational ideas that the dystopian words are built on come from fears taken to the extreme. Oryx and Crake deal with fears like overpowering genetic engineering and constant surveillance while The Hunger Games deals with a fear of government. Even though fear is not strictly dystopian in nature, it is a staple in all dystopian works. These dystopian works can serve as a cautionary tale about the power that fear has. So many decisions in the world today are made because someone is scared of something. Fear is a driving factor in politics, especially with the current tensions around the world. No one wants to have bad things happen to them, so in order to prevent these bad things from happening, extremes are taken. The very fear that prompted this decision-making is sometimes blindly followed to a place that is really no better than
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