Dystopia, an imaginary place where people live dehumanized and often fearful lives. In Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut and The Giver by Lois Lowry, both societies are robbed of their human attributes and live in fear of the government. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut illustrates how life would be if everyone was equal in every aspect. The citizens are attached to “handicaps” that deprive them of their intelligence, an attempt to prevent a rebellion. For the most part, people followed the regulations that were evident until Harrison Bergeron, son of George and Hazel Bergeron, realized that the handicaps were inhumane.
Since the age of Thomas Moore, intellectuals have been fascinated by the idea of an ideal society where all is well and total happiness is readily available to all of its members. Such ideals of a ‘utopia’ continued throughout the centuries until it reached a major pivoting point in the nineteenth century. Historical events such as the Second World War, the Cold War, the emergence of McCarthyism, and the creation of a nuclear bomb left people with a heavily misanthropic view of the world. People started to question the practicality or realistic possibility of a utopian society, thus creating the genre of dystopian literature. (Gerhard, 2012)
Dystopia as a genre is a literature of fictional writing tends to engage with social and political structures, in a dark and nightmare world. It is deliberately written to frighten and warn the readers and society’s fellow of totalitarian and suppressive government. Dystopia is a novel of enlightenment. It’s about the self discovery. It’s a social commentary based on particular event in history.
Imagine a world full of peace and happiness, a place that epitomizes equity and unity. Imagine a society born from ideals and dreams, where people are able to fulfill their ultimate purpose and goals in life. Think of a happy-go-lucky world, of a brightly colored future filled with hope. Now, imagine a world filled with ash and dust, where the air that people breathe in is filled with toxins. Imagine a society born from the product of war and desolation, where people are restrained to the shackles of a totalitarian government.
A dystopian society is a dysfunctional society that is marketed to its citizens as a utopian society. It includes elements such as a lack/ downplay of religion or one government sanctioned religion that everyone must follow. The government either uses force and or fear to control its population. There is a suppression of freedom of speech and a suppression of intellectualism. In this society, there is a protagonist who rebels against the status quo.
1984 dystopia By definition, a dystopia is a “place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically totalitarian or environmentally degraded one”. In 1984 by George Orwell, the environment the main character, Winston Smith, is subject to a dystopian environment. Oceania exists after WWII and is under watch by the inner party. Consistently manipulating those in the community, people are not allowed to think independently.
Dystopian societies found in literature typically express human tendency to have a fear of the future consequently the fear of the unknown. Over the years dystopian writers have written stories about world governments becoming power hungry and creating conformist societies that take away the liberties of being a freethinking human. In post apocalyptic worlds the human race tends to lose it’s belief in humanity, in creativity, and in freedom. Dystopian societies are depicted as environments filled with conformity, hierarchy, and incentives. The film adaptation of Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World are prime examples of dystopian societies dominated by capitalist exploitation.
If you have ever seen a movie or read a book about the end of the world it was most likely seen as a dystopian society and you would agree that the situation is bad for everyone. Dystopia is known to be a society that is undesirable or frightening. Even this simple definition shows that dystopia is bad for everyone that is involved. This can be seen in both The Road by Cormac McCarthy and “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury on multiple occasions.
Dystopia means an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. George Orwell uses language to convey a Dystopian World. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. It is engineered to remove any possibility of rebellious thoughts. Many words are eliminated to gain more control over the people.
??? 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.