Based on what I’ve learned and experienced this semester, I think dystopia is defined as a society characterized by oppressive governmental control, societal chaos, and a dehumanizing/bleak environment that is an unforeseen consequence of individuals trying to improve said society. I have edited my original definition of dystopia that I created during our first week of class due to my perspective changing after viewing the film “Animal Farm.” In this animated film we see farm animals overthrow their “dictator”, the farmer, and work towards building a just society where all farm animals are treated equally. As we saw, there were good intentions here originally, but unfortunately some farm animals, particularly the pigs, jumped at the opportunity to become the new ruling class. Ultimately, this was a consequence that the working farm animals did not see coming and their lives were just as bad if not worse then when the farmer was around.

Examples of the other characteristics of dystopias can be seen in films like “The Giver” and “Divergent.” Starting with “The Giver,” the characteristic of oppressive governmental control is showcased through the fact that the Elders control every aspect of people’s lives, from their professions to their family structures. The use of ‘sameness’ in the society of “The Giver” ensures conformity, suppressing individuality and uniqueness. This control is maintained through the suppression of memories and emotions, which are kept under strict regulation by the Elders. The suppression of memories and emotions results in a society that lacks genuine connections and understanding. Societal chaos lies in the superficial harmony that masks the deeper issues of a society that has sacrificed genuine human experiences for the sake of control. The absence of color, emotions, and memories creates a sterile and monotonous environment. The controlled environment contributes to a sense of bleakness, as individuals are denied the full spectrum of human existence.

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