The Dystopian World • When you hear the word dystopian, what are some ideas that come to mind? • What are some titles of books or movies that you would consider dystopian? • Why are attracted to the dystopian ? Dystopia

• The term has been around since the 19th century • coined by English philosopher and economist in 1868; but as a genre of , it really took off in the and became very prevalent in the years after World II Dystopian Society

• refers to fictional societies that are incredibly imperfect, lacking the harmonious and egalitarian qualities of life depicted in • The word was first used in direct context by Sir in his 1516 work Utopia. The word utopia resembles both the Greek words "no place", "outopos", and "good place", "eutopos". • contains many of the same elements as utopias— such as intense measures of social control—but these elements are taken to horrific extremes, with emphasis upon their negative effects • makes a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system Characteristics of Society

• Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society. • Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted. • A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society. • The natural world is banished and distrusted. • The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world. Characteristics of Citizens

• Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance. • Citizens have a of the outside world. • Citizens live in a dehumanized state. • Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are bad. Dystopian Control

• Most dystopian works present a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through one or more of the following types of controls… Types of Dystopian Controls • Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or the media. Examples include Minority Report, Running Man, and WALL- E. • Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy through a tangle of red tape, relentless regulations, and sometimes incompetent government officials. Examples in film include for Vendetta, Brazil, , • Technological control: Society is controlled by — through computers, robots, and/or scientific means. Examples include , The Terminator, I am , and I, Robot. • Philosophical/religious control: Society is controlled by philosophical or religious ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government. Example: The Handmaid’s Tale Dystopian Literature • a subset of the larger category of anti- Utopian literature, which generally satirizes Utopian thinking • stands out from other anti-utopian writing in that it doesn’t just say what’s wrong with utopian models of society, but offers an alternate view of social potentialities • concerned with problems of the political and cultural context that produces them • There is often a prescriptive element— Dystopian almost always offer some kind of warning (often implicit) of what will happen should present trends continue The Dystopian

• often feels trapped and is struggling to escape. • questions the existing social and political systems. • believes or feels that something is terribly wrong with the society in which he or she lives. • helps the recognizes the negative aspects of the dystopian world through his or her perspective. Dystopian Themes • mastery of nature—to the point that it becomes barren, or turns against humankind • technological advances that enslave humans or regiment their lives; the mandatory division of people into castes or groups with specialized functions • a collective loss of memory and history making mankind easier to manipulate psychologically and ultimately leading to dehumanization. General conflicts addressed in the dystopian genre:

• Environment • Class Inequality • Corruption/Government • /Social Complacency • Gender/Age Inequality • Science/Technology ’s 1984

• 1984, one of the most famous dystopian , was written in 1949, shortly after World War II and the rise of totalitarian states on the right and the left, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin • depicts Big Brother and the Thought Police, elements of a profoundly oppressive state bent on maintaining absolute control over individuals (including even their thoughts)