The Purge and Dystopia

In the first of the week of classes we talked about the Merriam Webster definition of dystopia which is “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives“. In the movie The Purge there was an imagined world where there was an annual event where people were able to commit heinous crimes for a total of 12 hours without any repercussions or limitation; the law of the land was lifted and “crime” did not have a true definition within the realm of those 12 brutal hours. I think the fearful lives component of this definition supports my claim that the rich in the movie were not living dystopian lives because lives implies a constant and daily occurrence, whereas the purge only lasted a total of 12 hours out of an entire year.

In a previous assignment I mentioned how in Leviathan, it states that when it comes to the nature of men there are three principal causes of discord: competition, distrust, and glory. With competition violence is used, with distrust is used to defend oneself, and glory is based on things of little value. The attackers in The Purge used force and violence as a way to intrude, getting rid of the rich little by little seemed to be their end goal that rested in their need to defend themselves against the rich on a wider scale because the rich couldn’t be trusted due to the implication that The Purge would do away with the poor, and lastly,  their trifles rested in that killing off one rich family was not very significant because there were plenty more, but if they could take down the “big guns” they would be a little closer to social freedom.

I think this type of outlook on the movie allowed for me to really broaden my understanding of a dystopia and how oppression really requires all five faces in order to defined and solidified as oppression. Oppression and dystopia are heavily linked and we see in the movie how even though it may seem like a dystopia, I believe on a broader scale the rich leave conceivable unbothered lives and rarely succumb to the three principles of discord that are expressed in Leviathan, outside of the yearly occurrence of the purge.

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