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Copy of Dystopian Literature

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Dani Zoeller

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Dystopian Literature

Dystopias often focus on a current social, technological, or governmental trend and show us what would happen if this trend were taken way too far. It’s basically an exaggerated “worst-case scenario.” This allows the dystopian story to make a criticism of a trend in our real world.
Welcome to the future!
Imagine a world where…
Or where…
Love has been diagnosed as a disease!

Or where…
Humanoid robots have been invented to serve and protect humans...
Welcome to the world of dystopian literature!
Dystopias often start with an illusion of an ideal society, or UTOPIA. But as the story progresses, the reader and characters both realize that this fictional world is the opposite of perfect.
Since the beginning of the 2000s, dystopian novels have become one of the most popular and successful trends in young-adult literature.
Dystopian literature is not new.
One of the earliest well-known examples was H.G. Wells’ novel,
The Time Machine
, which depicts a distant future in which the human race has evolved into two species, one that herds the other like livestock. The Time Machine was published in 1895.
Even before that, in 1835, a
pro-slavery
writer wrote a novel called
A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation
depicting a dystopian future in which black people and white people had intermarried and had children together. Obviously, it was a very different time.
In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, dystopian literature became a powerful way for American writers to criticize communism and socialism. These decades produced some of the most important dystopian classics:
In 1993, Lois Lowry published
The Giver
, a story about a “perfect” society where all important choices are made for you so that you don’t risk making the wrong choices. This was one of the first dystopian novels written specifically for young adults.

The Giver
opened a floodgate.
Most dystopian stories share several common elements or ideas.
In general, fictional dystopian societies usually form in one of two ways:
The Importance of Humanity
Most dystopian stories share common themes, or messages. And you'll notice that how the dystopia was originally created usually affects the eventual theme of the story.
The Danger of Technology
The Danger of a Particular Policy
The Danger of Human Nature
The Danger of Allowing One Group to Have Too Much Power
The Importance of Knowledge and Truth
A DYSTOPIA is an imaginary futuristic world in which society lives under the oppression and control of a totalitarian government, a repressive society, a force of technology, or a corrupt business corporation.
The next few decades saw many more dystopian novels--
A Clockwork Orange
,
Logan’s Run
,
The Running Man
,
V for Vendetta
--but up until this point almost all dystopian novels were written for adults.
Every year, the government selects twenty-four teenagers
and throws them into an arena to fight to the death.
But thankfully a cure has been found, and all young people are required to get this cure when they turn eighteen.
which works out great until the robots decide that humans would be easier to protect if they had no freedom.
The Danger of Desensitization
The History of Dystopian Fiction
Common Story Elements
Creating a Dystopia
Themes in
Dystopian Stories
The Danger of a Particular Type of Government
The Importance of Free Will and Individuality
We all love the internet and texting on our cell phones. But what if we took that technology way too far?
Would it be cool if our brains were directly connected to the internet?
What kinds of problems could this level of "connectedness" cause?
It would be a lot easier for the government to find terrorists and criminals if only they weren't limited by people's desire for privacy!
But what if the government monitored everything we did and said and punished individualism as a crime?
Overpopulation could become a big problem with too many people competing for a dwindling supply of resources. If only there was a fair way of limiting the population!
But what kind of problems would it cause if the government went so far as to make it illegal to have any more than two children?
What if a bunch of teenagers were left to themselves on a deserted island? How awesome would it be if you didn't have to deal with adults anymore?
But what terrible things might some teenagers do if there were no adults around to enforce any kind of rules?
Wouldn't it be convenient if you could make all your purchases and keep track of all your personal information with a simple tattoo on your arm?
But what problems could come with giving every piece of personal information about yourself to one business corporation?
Wouldn't it be intense to watch a reality TV show where real people try to hunt one another down and kill each other?
But what would that kind of entertainment do to our humanity?
Wouldn't life be easier and less painful without sad memories and difficult truths? But how important is knowledge and knowing what happens in the world around us?
Wouldn't life be better and happier if everyone were equally beautiful? No one would judge others, there would be no jealousy, and everyone would get along.
But would you be okay with giving up your individuality?
If humanity's very survival were threatened, we would do just about anything to guarantee our own survival.
But are there some lines we shouldn't cross, some things we shouldn't do, even in the name of saving the world?
Is this a perfect world?
Or a dystopia?
1. Society adopts a new form of government, or gives power to a corporation or technology or system of belief, in order to create a better world or to solve real problems and create a perfect society; but the new government, corporation, technology, or belief system is taken too far and becomes oppressive, unjust, and inhumane.
The government, technology, or corporation given control after the disaster usually begins with a genuine desire to save the world, but it either becomes corrupt and oppressive or it goes about saving the world in such a bone-headed way that it ends up threatening humanity's survival.
2. Other dystopias are created after an apocalyptic event destroys most of society as we know it, and those left alive are forced to adopt extreme policies in order to ensure humanity’s survival.
But what happens when the people decide that they'd rather not spend the rest of their lives doing absolutely nothing on a space ship that's going absolutely nowhere?
But what about the root of "Dystopia;" what is a Utopia?
Definition: "An ideal society."
From Thomas More's Utopia (the dialogue) from 1513
Discussed an "ideal" society
Utopia has become unanimous with "perfect"
But it actually means "no place"
Utopia addressed many issues of the time, but was meant to be satire
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