What in the world is a dystopia?

Dystopia: a society that’s ruled unscrupulously and is riddled with the injustice and oppression of the less fortunate people, who usually live in turmoil, for the gain of the ruling group’s benefit. 

We’ve observed many different things this semester. Multiple films, books, articles, and the writings of several scholars have given us insight into what a dystopia is. One of the most important things that I learned is that there is no dystopia without oppression. That idea was introduced to us and reinforced with Iris Young’s Five Faces of Oppression, where she explained the different ways that groups are oppressed in society. Especially after reading that piece of literature, I questioned, Why must someone be oppressed? Why can’t the good go around? Through our exploration of dystopian media, I soon realized that the answer was some selfish reason. The ruling class was comfortable and some circumstances shifted society and made them uncomfortable. The only way for those people to regain and maintain their comfort would be by abusing and taking away the freedoms of others. Even in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, we read that men are constantly moving for their gain. I said in my definition that a dystopian society is ruled “unscrupulously” and Hobbes says that during times of war, “the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” This shows how the citizens in these dystopias live. Their “leaders” do not care for their well-being or the things they need to survive. That, in turn, makes their lives become filled with turmoil and worry, all so the leaders can get what they want. Their lives become just as Hobbes said, poor, brutish, and short. That’s why I believe that my definition of dystopia is sound. When I compare it to the literature we’ve read, and the movies we’ve watched, it’s easy to see how my definition of dystopia can describe all of those works. 

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