The Atomic Future

A true definition of a dystopia is a society in which a group of people endure great suffering and oppression while critiquing present-day issues and exploring possible consequences of unchecked power by a government serving as a cautionary tale of the future. Young’s Five Faces of Oppression supports this definition because her work focuses on oppression such as exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. These faces of oppression provide a lens through which dystopian societies can be understood as exaggerated manifestations of these forces. In a dystopia, these forces are usually magnified to the extreme, highlighting societal worries about power dynamics and control. A good example is George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, in which we see the exploitation of the animals by the pigs who take total dominion over all the farm animals and make them work more than what the farmer had them doing, signifying powerlessness. They change the animal’s ideology to fit the needs of the pigs. Sigmund Freud’s exploration of civilization & its discontents explores the tensions between desires and constraints. This reading supports the notion of great suffering in a dystopia and describes the psychological toll of living in oppressive environments on individuals. In many narratives, the lower class are usually those that possess more violent qualities due to their continuous oppression while those of wealth exhibit cynicism and arrogance towards social divides.  This echoes the dystopian narrative in which people tend to struggle with identity under oppressive authority, invoking themes of censorship, surveillance, and violent punishment. Dystopian societies exemplify possible futures, emphasizing the consequences of social inequality and control as well as rampant power. Through works like Orwell’s Animal  Farm and Freud’s analysis of human society, scholars can gain insight into the dystopian elements of these oppressive systems and their impact on individuals at large.

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