How do you define dystopia?

From my past exposure to dystopias in books, movies, tv shows, and other literature, a dystopia can be defined as an imagined society or community, oftentimes based on exaggerated elements of our current society, in which humans face known or unknown suffering, both human created or an as result of environmental causes, deprivement of humanity, injustice, or in other ways denied freedoms.

Elements and causes for dystopia creation are many times due to human action, whether it is a tyrannical government that restricts freedoms or an environmental disaster caused by human actions; in our society today, we make decisions that bring us closer to that fate. Although literature and media are created for enjoyment, especially in the case of dystopias, the most impactful are those that the reader or watcher can connect to or relate to in some way. In 1984, George Orwell saw the increased surveillance of technology and censoring of information that was happening in 1949. Since then, the book has become increasingly popular and relatable because the elements from our society were exaggerated or were used to predict an outcome that would come from our society if that pattern continues.

In some dystopias, like The Giver, the people living in that society aren’t even necessarily aware that they are being deprived or controlled, but as the reader, we understand what parts of life they are missing. Dystopias are very versatile and don’t have many parameters which allow for such a diverse range of ideas and creations that all fall under the category of dystopias. Dystopias don’t have to be an extreme environment of suffering with humans on the break of death at every moment, but they can be. Dystopias mean that the society is not perfect; we today in our society live in a dystopian society, not to the extent that many dystopian media is, but still in its own right.

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