Dystopian Literature AN INTRODUCTION… What is a ? Utopia: A place, state, or condition that is ideally perfect in respect of , laws, customs, and conditions

 In most dystopian movies and , the society starts out as a utopia.  Over time, the controlling force(s) take away certain freedoms from its citizens turning it into a . What is a Dystopia? Dystopia: an imaginary futuristic world in which society lives under:  the oppression of a totalitarian government  a repressive society  a force of  a corrupt business corporation What is a Dystopia? Society itself is typically the  Society is actively working against the ’s aims and desires  Main is normally Man vs. Society

The best dystopian stories speak to a deeper meaning…  What it means to be one small part of a larger civilization  What it means to be an individual or human Focus of Dystopian Literature often focus on a current social, technological, or governmental trend and shows us what would happen if this trend went too far Basically, it’s an exaggerated “worst-case scenario”  This allows the author to make a criticism of a trend in the real world Focus of Dystopian Literature For Example: Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, dystopian literature became a way for American authors to criticize communism and socialism  by (1931)  Anthem by (1937)  Animal Farm by (1945)  1984 by George Orwell (1949)  by (1953)  by Ayn Rand (1957) Dystopian Characteristics Control  Information, ideas, choices, and freedoms are restricted or removed by the controlling power / government Surveillance  Citizens are constantly monitored and watched by those in control Dehumanization  Citizens are forced to live in a ‘dehumanized’ or animalistic state Dystopian Genre Characteristics  Uniformity is expected  All citizens are alike and the same  Individuality is bad Limited World View  Citizens have a lack of knowledge and of the ‘outside’ world Propaganda  Messages designed to influence and control the attitude of citizens toward some cause, belief, or position by presenting only one side of the argument Dystopian Genre Characteristics Powerful Leader  A figurehead or idea is worshipped by the citizens Controlled Environment  Elements of the natural world is banished, removed, and/or distrusted Perfect World  Citizens believe they are living in a perfect world – a utopian society  They don’t want to see a need for change Traits of a Dystopian Protagonist  Often feels trapped and is struggling to escape  Questions the existing social and political systems  Believes or feels that something is terribly wrong with society in which he/she lives  Helps the reader/ recognize the negative aspects of the dystopian society through his/her perspective Common Themes in Dystopian Literature Note: is a statement or message that the author is making about a particular idea or topic within the context of a story. In essence, a theme is the main idea or some type of lesson or message that the author wants to convey to the reader/audience.

The Danger of a Particular Type of Government  The Importance of Knowledge and Truth  The Dangers of a Particular Policy  The Danger of Allowing One Group Too Much Power Common Themes in Dystopian Literature  The Importance of Free Will and Individuality  The Danger of Technology  The Danger of Desensitization  The Importance of Humanity  The Danger of Human Nature Characteristics of Dystopian Literature Control Traits of a Dystopian Protagonist Feels trapped and is struggling to escape Surveillance Questions existing social and political system Dehumanization Believes something is terribly wrong with society Conformity Helps reader understand the negative aspects of the society in which s/he lives Limited World View Propaganda Powerful Leader Controlled Environment Perfect World Look for…  How are things different in “Harrison Bergeron” then they are now? Is the change made in the story progress? Why/Why not? What was affected by the changes made? What was negative and what was positive about the change?