Articles

Dystopia

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 by Vikas

The dictionary defines a dystopia as a state in which the conditions of life are extremely bad as from deprivation or oppression or terror.These scenarios have been the inspiration for countless novels and movies. They reflect our darkest fears and sometimes, actual elements in the modern world. I for one, have always been fascinated by fictional dystopias.(please don’t ask why)

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s novel from 1953 recalled the despicable scenes of book burning in the Nazi Germany. In the book a future society of America is portrayed where the populations is monitored for any signs of free thinking.The chief character, Guy Montag, is a fireman, which means someone assigned to burn books. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper ignites. Montag begins to question the morality of his job and finds others who want to rebel. There was also a movie based on the novel in 1966.

Clockwork Orange

This novel form Anthony Burgess is one of the most controversial books ever published(as a Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, controversy surrounding the movie plot was stirred again). Set in a near future England, Alex and his friends, known as droogs, are a thuggish gang obsessed with rape and violence, and they communicate through a slang language, invented by Burgess. Alex however, is not a typical teenager, as he loves classical music and Beethoven in particular. After being sent to prison for a brutal crime, Alex participates in a trial to test out the Ludovico Technique. This involves giving him a nausea-inducing drug whilst watching footage of violent acts.The story prompts the question, should mind control be a part of rehabilitation for offenders?

Brave New World

Set in London in the 25th century, this book by Aldous Huxley comes pretty up the list. The World State produces test tube babies, which are socially engineered to fit into one of five castes in order to determine their status in life, from managers to manual laborers. Sleep conditioning is used to stimulate certain desires such as consumption of products. This is a world dedicated to pleasure and shopping and its citizens’ moods are controlled by Soma, a hallucinogenic drug. Henry Ford, the pioneer of the modern assembly line, is worshiped as a god. Huxley’s story is a warning against a hedonistic society with no moral basis.  Test tube babies became a reality in the real world and the novel’s premise raises many questions about pre-determination.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Saving the best for the last, we have here ourselves a masterpiece by George Orwell. This novel published in 1949 became an adage for dystopia.References from the book, particularly ‘Big Brother’, are part of our language and are shorthand for a society where surveillance keeps the population in check. In this imagined future, London is part of a super state known as Oceania. The news is controlled by the repressive regime and the central character of Winston Smith is a civil servant whose job involves falsifying official information. His illicit liaison with Julia leads to an encounter in the notorious Room 101. The story is more relevant than ever as we live with CCTV cameras on every corner and repressive governments around the world censor information from their citizens. There was a film adaptation of it in the year 1984 itself (funny imagining 1984 in 1984).

P.S:

Please recommend me some more dystopia, since they are like my favorite category of fiction, and I have done almost all the ones that are any good.

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