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Common elements of dystopian literature

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Caleb Hayman

on 5 September 2014

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Transcript of Common elements of dystopian literature

By Caleb Hayman, and Carson Fowler
Common elements of Dystopian literature
Definition of Dystopian literature
"A futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system."
Literary devices in Dystopian literature
Allusion - (an indirect reference to a person, place or thing [normally] well-known to popular culture.) In many dystopian novels, the purpose is to shed light on the possible outcome of a new trend or development persisting. This leaves the body of the novel ripe for allusions to modern day happenings that can relate to the issue being critiqued in the story.
Foreshadowing - (being able to predetermine that something may happen in the future part of a story's plot.) In dystopian literature, the main character often believes that he understands the society very simply. Through devices such as dramatic irony, the reader can determine in advance that things will go quite different than what the protagonist expects upon delving deeper into his or her society.
Euphemism - (a lighter word or phrase used in place of something with a more heavy meaning.) One main concept in a dystopian novel is that of the leading power making it seem as though the body is living in a Utopia. One part of this illusion is the usage of friendlier sounding words in place of words bearing the more blunt and clearer meaning.
Common ideas in Dystopian literature
Power and Corruption - the idea in which the state takes too much control, and is with the primary interest of itself rather than the human body.
Oppression - the idea in which there is unjust treatment towards people or that there is unjust control over them.
Rebellion - the idea in which people attempt to usurp control from the dominant power.
Evolution of Dystopian literature
Dystopian novels began popping up roughly in the 1930's. The authors of these novels were quite plainly attempting to spark fear in the reader. Dystopian novels today are written simply for the amusement of the reader. But in the past, these novels have been written to demonstrate a way in which a societal norm could cause a most unpleasant future. For example, in 1937, Ayn Rand's, "Anthem", was written as an attempt to show the dysfunction of altruism and the good of Ayn Rand's own value, objectivism. While in 2008, Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games", was written just for the fun of it.
As well as evolution of purpose in dystopian literature, it would seem as though the presentation of these stories has gradually changed as well. In more dated pieces, the human body of one such dystpian society has been completely conformist, and utterly brainwashed. These people are given the false illusion of a perfect, Utopian society. Now a days, the people of these civilizations are aware of their oppression, and the people wish to be free of it. Some attempt of propaganda is still made by the dominant power in modern day novels, but the body sees through it very clearly for what it really is.
Utilization of Character development in Dystopian literature
The development of a character in dystopian literature is often a key component to the text. In many dystopian novels, the main purpose for the author having written the story is to critique an issue. In order for the author's point to be adequately addressed, the society displayed must be thoroughly examined and scrutinized. The way in which this is done is by allowing the protagonist to delve into the broken society; influencing the reader through the character's new thoughts and feelings about his or her culture. If at the end, the protagonist changes to conform to the societies corrupt ways through means of brainwash or worse, the story can have an even greater impact on the reader.
Common Element examples
Propaganda - the dominant power often bends the truth to make it seem as though things are all going it's way.
Control - the government or dominant power will often use excessive control onto the body.
Conformity - often times, the citizens all remain completely the same in clothing and thought pattern; independence is generally not common if even tolerated.
Author's Intentions
When a dystopian novel is written, the author is generally intending to bring the negative effects of a societal norm to the attention of the public. The dystopian society featured in a novel depicts what could happen if the addressed issue is not corrected. The dystopian novel is basically a more interesting representation of the author's opinions.
Works Cited
Vincent, Michael, Dr. The Long QT Syndrome. Salt Lake City: SADS Foundation, n.d. Print.
"Stories by Williams." Stories by Williams. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014
"All About Dystopia." Dystopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.
"Homework / Study Tips and Help With Homework." About. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.
Dpogreda. "Quizlet." Web log post. Flashcards. N.p., 2014. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.
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