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What Is Dystopia?

An introduction to the course "Dystopian Futures."

Jamie A. Cutter

on 27 August 2013

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Transcript of What Is Dystopia?


A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia (or perfect society). Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.
The Walking Dead, Firefly/Serenity, The Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, Harrison Bergeron, The Handmaide's Tale, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Divergent, Battle Royale, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Jericho, the list goes on and on....
Dystopian stories reflect society's insecurities, fears, and anxieties.
What is dystopia?
1. Violence (war, crime, blood sports)

2. Social Groups (break down of family, castes)

3. Nature (nuclear war, destruction of planet)

4. Politics (corrupt government, loss of citizen's freedom)

5. Economics (poverty, capitalism, state-run economy)

The Hunger Games
Aspects of Dystopia:
by Suzanne Collins
Written in 2008, The Hunger Games is a dystopian story set in a post-apocalyptic North America known as Panem.
The story's protagonist, sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen, lives in District 12, the poorest district and furthest from the Capitol.
The name Panem comes from the Latin phrase "Panem et Circenses," a metaphor for creating public approval through the use of diversions. It literally means "bread and circuses."
The "Capitol" is both the literal capital of Panem, as well as a term used to refer to the government.
Why The Hunger Games?
-The Hunger Games is one of the top selling books in America, and is especially popular among young people.

-While it is easy to read, the themes and socio-political importance demands a close reading.

-It can be understood as an allegory for American society.
Assignment # 2
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