In class we defined Dystopia as “An imaginary or real place whose people may lead a restricted and oppressive existence under some form of authority”.However, this definition doesn’t encompass all aspects of a Dystopian society. To define “Dystopia” you must also consider how the society came to be. The definition I would use instead is “A place, real or imagined, in which a governing body maintains complete control of both citizens and society via oppression, limitation of knowledge, intimidation, and fear.” I would use this definition because it defines what a Dystopian society is as well as how the Dystopia is maintained.
I included limitation of knowledge, fear, and intimidation because it helps explain why a Dystopia may have been upheld. When thinking of a Dystopia I often consider why the people within the dystopian society continue to live under such oppression and misery.This is due to fear, intimidation, and ignorance. For example, in George Orwell’s 1984, the party maintained power through their ministries. The ministries controlled every conceivable means of independent thought. They also intimidated the citizens of Oceania via the ministry of love and the concept of Big Brother. The overarching idea of an unseen surveillance force is the hallmark of a dystopian society.
Dystopia is difficult to define because it can be a concept that is both relative and concrete. However, setting the parameters of oppression, fear, intimidation, and limitation of knowledge in the definition provides a generic framework to then define one’s own version of dystopia.