Dystopia Essay Examples

Dystopia Essay Examples

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Through the ‘two minutes hate’ everyone sits watching the screen and begins to scream at images of the enemy to then, almost religious chant for the sake of their leader. It is a world where everyone looks the similar wearing the same suits, and behaves almost the same! This scene of the film shows extremely… View Article

Fahrenheit 451 and There Will Come Soft Rains

A majority amount of stories may have a similar trait to another piece of writing. A large amount of stories have been compared in ways such as theme, settings, characters, irony, and close evidence of foreshadowing. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury are an example of similar… View Article

Community Stability Identity

Imagine living in a society where there are no problems and everything is perfect, but how can you live in a society with no individuality or freedom. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley reveals a dystopian and utopian society in the future where everything is perfect: stability and happiness. People in the World State live… View Article

Dystopian Society

A world composed of dystopian elements, hope and dreams are shattered, bashed by the greater power of the antagonist. Such a place of melancholy is unheard of in the society of today because the human race has been fortunate as to steered off from making those bad, negative decisions. Americans live head up high, carefree… View Article

Fahrenheit 451 Part 1

1. The image that this creates is that the firemen do not care at all if a house is burning. They joke around saying that they want to pull out some marshmallows and roast them from the burning house. 2. The significance of Montag seeing his reflection in Clarisse’s eyes is that she is not… View Article

Farehnheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about how the world would be without feelings, emotions, and knowing what you want in life. Mildred Montag and Clarisse McClellan are two different characters in the novel that act in very diverse ways. The main distinctions between Mildred and Clarisse is that, their personalities are different, they have different… View Article

Should Individuality and Knowledge Ever Be Suppressed?

Should individuality and knowledge ever be suppressed? Some people might think so in order to create a more socially “equal” world. However if society were to act in such a way it would cause a major step back in the development that people have worked so hard to achieve. After all, isn’t it every country’s… View Article

Brave New World: Utopia or Dystopia

The novel Brave New World has often been characterized as dystopia rather than utopia. Nevertheless, the superficial overview of the novel implies a utopian society, especially if judging by what the Controller said to John, the Savage: People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well… View Article

Harrison Bergeron

An impartial society: Utopia or Hell? What would happen to the world if the people were literally equal in every aspect of their lives? In the futuristic short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the world is finally living up to America’s first amendment of everyone being created equal. In this society, the gifted,… View Article

Theme of Fahrenheit 451

The theme of Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury contains a setting of a world where society itself was destructive. In this story characters and society are portrayed to be soulless and self-centered. Immoral things such as killing in this society have no affect on characters and ignorance is considered as the norm. By the… View Article

Utopian Societies

Utopian societies are in constant struggle to find perfection in everyday life. In Fahrenheit 451 and The Handmaid’s Tale, each protagonist is struggling with fitting into these boundaries of perfection. When inquisitive minds emerge in a society that strives to be so pure, it can become dangerous not only physically but also emotionally. Although these… View Article

Quest for Meaning in Hostile and Oppressive Worlds

Dystopian literature often presents the individual’s quest for meaning in hostile and oppressive worlds.’ To what extent do the writers present their protagonists as successful in this quest in ‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde and ‘Woman at Point Zero’ by Nawal El Saadawi? The assertion that all three… View Article

Freedom of Thought in Fahrenheit 451

Freedom of thought is taken for granted in today’s society, but in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, society works differently. This freedom, or lack thereof, is not recognized until fireman, Guy Montag, proves to himself that thoughts are important. Through a maze of censorship and curiosity, Montag faces his government because of his interest in books…. View Article

He, She and It Summary

The setting of He, She and It begins in 2059, of which there are no civil governments present; instead, the interests of the community are controlled by multinational corporations creating a toxic world ravaged by war and environmental disasters. Shira Shipman is a mother who loses custody of her son to her ex-husband Josh, due… View Article

Censorship on the Community

The Effect of Censorship on the Community and People in the Novel “ Fahrenheit 451” The Novel Fahrenheit 451 exploited censorship and all the negative thing that can occur when a society is censored. There were many examples in this novel. In the Novel Guy Montag finds out that censorship is a big part of… View Article

A/N: This was my research essay for my senior year of high school. I have always been very interested in dystopian societies, and doing this gave me a lot of joy. I am very proud of myself, as it is the first essay I have ever applied myself on. Tell me what you think!

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Defining Dystopia

Imagine living in the most undesirable society, a society where the government watches and controls everything you do, a society in which you have no individual choice. It is a society where anything you think or do against the government can be punishable by isolation, torture, or death. There is no independence, no freedom, and no personal thought. It is often rampant with poverty, disease, and filth. A society where you career and social status are pre-destined and you cannot alter it. And imagine that the government of this society did everything in its power to make you believe that this was the most ideal living situation for you.

This is a dystopian society. The word "dystopia" traces its roots back to the Greek word "dys" (meaning "bad") and "topos" (meaning "place) (Dictionary). Citizens in a dystopian society never question their government. They are either brainwashed or too scared to speak up against the injustices being performed in their society. Bernard Marx from Brave New World and Winston Smith from 1984 are different. They have been woken from the stupor of obedience their governments put them in and begin questioning their society. What they find is more horrible, dangerous and hopeless than they could have imagined. Dystopian societies can be identified by the unique characteristics of its government by using examples from 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxely. These characteristics are social restrictions, strictly government controlled groups, use of propaganda, and history alteration for government beliefs.

Huxley's Brave New World is set in a society that seems more like a fantasy than a possible reality. It is where people are no longer born, but instead manufactured on an assembly line, and are therefore created into caste levels from which they cannot move. This is a society where Henry Ford is worshipped as the creator and viviparous relationships are not only obsolete, but they are obscene. There are no emotions other than happiness, not because they are banned, but because they were just not made in these humans. While every citizen seems to believe they are in paradise, they do not see the one fatal flaw of this dystopia. Bernard Marx on the other hand, feels its presence in every empty action he performs. It takes the encounter of John Savage from the Savage Reservation to make him realize that his acute unhappiness stems from the fact his government gives him no freedom of thought or passion.

Orwell's 1984 is a much darker version of a dystopian society. Instead of being set in a fantasy realm, it is set in a world which many can realistically fear, seeing as it is so close to many forms of government threatening us today. This is a society where helicopters fly past your window, where soldiers march in the streets and propaganda posters litter every inch of every wall. The most popular of these posters is one with a charismatic Hitler like face with eyes that seem to always watch you. The caption reads "Big Brother Is Watching You"; to remind everyone the televisions in every room are watching every move every citizen makes. In this society, The Party feeds lies to the people daily, and they are forced and brainwashed into believing them. They are forced to believe whatever the government does, they are right and things are always better for them today than they were yesterday. Winston sees past these lies, because he works in the Ministry of Truth, where he revises historical documents to fit the Party's newer orthodoxies. He begins to form feelings of hatred for the party when he finds love in Julia, who engages in an illegal love affair with him. After this, he finds out just how dark and corrupt his government really is.

The first definition of a dystopian society is social restrictions. Dystopian governments have complete control over their people. It is the only way to keep their government in rule. It is easier to control your citizens when you have trained them to be obedient and compliant. In Brave New World, people are manufactured into castes, and then trained to be compliant with the government's wishes, and in 1984 there is no love allowed other than love for Big Brother. In Brave New World there are five levels people are created into: the Alphas, Betas, Deltas, Gammas and Epsilons. Deltas, Gammas and Epsilons are oxygen deprived during their embryonic growth stage to make them dumber and smaller than Betas and Alphas, therefore inferior and unable to even become one of the privileged. The Department of Hatcheries and Conditioning takes care of making people, then training them to become model citizens. They use two methods. The first one is the Pavlov Method, the second is Sleep-Teaching. The Pavlov Method uses object-sensory activities to make a group of children like and hate certain objects. For example, they use shock to make Delta babies associate pain with books, so they will never self-educate. They will also use this process to make people love the job they will do in the future, i.e. The rocket engineer who will be working upside down for the majority of his job will be trained as a baby to love and be happy being upside down. The second method they use is Sleep-Teaching, where moral lessons are taught on repeat. They will have these lessons embedded in their minds by the time they wake up. (Brave New World 1-32) In 1984 there is no love allowed other than love for Oceania, Big Brother, and The Party. You can get married, but it is a union for the state. You get married to have children, who in turn will become spies for the Junior Spy League, and watch your every move to make sure you are not a traitor. There is no recreational sex for pleasure, it is done in the name of the party, and those who engage in it are not allowed to enjoy it. (1984 69-70) Julia, a sexual deviant who engages in an unorthodox sexual relationship with Winston explains the reasoning behind this rule:

When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. (1984 132)

The second characteristic is in a dystopian society, there are only government controlled groups. When people organize, they are more likely to revolt. Therefore, all groups and religions are government controlled to keep this from happening. In 1984, there is The Inner Party, which consists of The Ministry of Truth who work on falsifying and editing historical records, The Ministry of Peace which concerns itself with war, The Ministry of Love who employs the Thought Police, and the Ministry of Plenty who works on distributing and rationing goods. (Brave New World 6). These are the only businesses in Oceania, so if you are working, you are working for the government. In Brave New World, Christianity has never been heard of by the citizens. Instead, the place of veneration is called The Soliditary Service, and they worship Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line that creates humans. Instead of saying "Lord", people say "Ford" and all the tops of crosses have been taken off to create a "T" after the Model-T car. Even Big Ben in London has been named Big Henry (Brave New World 62). Mustapha Mond, The World Controller, explains to John Savage that God puts a sense of nobility, humbleness and self-denial in the people, and an organized society has no room for that kind of thinking. He tells him all the passionate feelings that come from God would disrupt a perfect society, so therefore, they got rid of Him, and replaced Him with a god that asked nothing of his people. (Brave New World 284-285)

The third characteristic is propaganda used to control citizens. You cannot have a perfect society without having complete control of your people. 1984 and Brave New World both have different approaches to how their citizens are controlled, yet both are similarly eerie.

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. (1984 55)

Besides using hate for all things other than The Party, the government in 1984 creates a new language to control their people. It is called Newspeak and it was created to eventually supersede the original English language, Oldspeak. While speaking or thinking in Newspeak, one cannot form a bad thought against the government because all the words contradict each other. For example, all the Inner Party's names contradict their jobs. The Ministry of Love works on war, and the Ministry of Truth works on hiding the truth from the citizens (1984 132). Brave New World uses a peaceful approach to propaganda control. It is called Soma, a hallucinogenic drug which makes all of its users happy. "Better a gramme than a damn" is a hypnotic chant that is said by happy members of society, reminding the unhappy ones that happiness is only a pill away (Brave New World 65). If the citizens are always happy, what will they have to complain about in their imperfect society?

The fourth and final characteristic is history is altered for government beliefs. First of all, Winston Smith's job from 1984, is altering history. He is given articles in his office which contradicts something recently issued by the government, and he must rewrite them and send them off, where a million new, revised articles are then reissued. For example, in the beginning of the year, the government promised chocolate rations would stay where they are. However, they did change them, from 30 grams to 20 grams. Winston's job is to go back to the article which states they were never going to change the rations and alter it to say that they would change it. Big Brother can never be wrong, and the people must never be able to prove him wrong (1984 42).

Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past (1984 260)

While in 1984, the government is constantly trying to change history, in Brave New World, the government has gotten rid of history. Mustapha Mond says history is no longer applicable to the world of today. Nobody knows who Shakespeare was, seeing as his works are banned because nobody would understand the monogamy and love in them. Mustapha Mond tells John Savage people need new things to progress the economy, and history is an old thing. However, unlike in 1984, they are not hiding history from the people to keep them from learning; they are keeping history from the people because they will never understand it.

After analysis of 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the results proved to be haunting and informative. A dystopian society is fictional, therefore all the knowledge one can gather about it, must come from fictional satire. 1984 and Brave New World are two classic novels on dystopian societies. These satirical novels were effective in their era. Both were written in times where dystopian societies seemed a possible reality. Brave New World was written during the industrial revolution, where the threat of technology taking over out world was very real. 1984 was written during World War II, when terrifying governments such as Stalin's communism and Mussolini's and Hitler's socialism were threats in everyone's minds. 1984 did a better job than Brave New World at explaining what a dystopian society is--because you cannot mistake it for a utopia. Brave New World would go under the sub-category of an anti-utopia because other than one fatal flaw, it is a perfect society. The most haunting point of these two books was the fact there was absolutely no way out. Winston Smith tries to revolt against The Party, but with the government watching his every move, there is nothing he can do. The governments are too strong for there to be any change brought into these two horrible worlds, and it's a scary thought. Given a choice, Brave New World would probably be the unanimous decision as to which dystopian society one may want to live in. At least you are given the illusion that you are happy in this society.

Dystopian societies are about control and power. Some want to create a perfect society, and therefore must have a strong hold on their citizens to make sure their emotions don't get in the way of this utopian dream. Others just want absolute and complete power over the people. However, in order to completely understand the reason for a dystopian society, one must first understand what is the purpose for government, and then understand the mind of the person in control of such a terrifying society. Whether one understands why these societies are put into place, one can identify it by its unique characteristics, using such satirical novels as Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.

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