Dystopia, accumulated

Dystopia /disˈtōpēən/


A destructive society that is created from the perfect society envisioned by a leader or organization. 

Throughout the semester, the definition of dystopia has become more specific and detailed. The main reasons these dystopias or destructive societies are created and how it mentally, emotionally, and physically affects the civilians developed in the progression of this class. 

The dystopian society stems from personal ideas of a “perfect” society, which is created by an organization or leader. The restrictions placed on the society are created by a leader or group’s standard of perfection, which forces the society to suffer while trying to ‘fit in’ to the community. In “The Lottery” the society’s older generation collectively agreed that their ‘lottery’ was a perfect tradition that should be kept. As old man Warner states, getting rid of this lottery would be going backward with the times. There were younger members that suggested getting rid of the lottery, but due to the consistency with the tradition, their thoughts were left as a mere suggestion. The older members collectively still agree that the tradition is worth keeping and they all choose to participate. Another example of this idea is in Orwell’s 1984, where the community is led by ‘Big Brother’ who apparently has the best intentions for their people. The media is altered to favor ‘Big Brother’ and his actions, even though many are fearfully being watched and war is purposely erupted to create support for the leader. The society in Orwell’s novel lives in a man-made perfect society by the leader, but Winston and others know about the true intentions of the system. Both of these examples of dystopias demonstrate how people in power are able to create restrictions and ideas in the minds of others because that’s what they deem as perfect. The reality is that their idea is far from perfect.

The tactics used to force people into these dystopian communities have been oppression, want for security, and more. Young describes the oppression of people through 5 faces: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Young’s oppression can be seen in many dystopian media, but a prime example is powerlessness in Orwell’s 1984. Winston, like many others, is constantly being watched over by ‘Big Brother,’ which prevents anyone from going out of line or resisting the work they are under. They have essentially forced workers under the system and are powerless within the government, which is depicted as Winston ends up back into the system at the end of the novel. The film “The Purge” is an example of a dystopia from the way violence was used and its likeness to the Hobbesian Jungle. The film depicts violence as an innate nature as it is advertised that the 12-hour free-for-all criminal activity is a part of our nature. The government encouraged everyone to participate as it would release all of their problems and create a reset. The 12-hour event shares similarities to the Hobbesian Jungle as it mimics the state of nature, where every man is against every man. Nature, which can be compared to the event in the film, is a constant state of competition where everyone has a right to everything, which can lead to chaos. (The Hobbesian jungle can be seen as tempting and blissful, which we explored earlier in the interpretation of songs.) Dystopian novels use oppression and other tactics to create these dystopian environments.

The dystopian communities are created by a leader or group who pictures a certain utopia in their eyes. They usually have power, whether physically or mentally, and use that to control society. This ends up being through violence and oppression, which forces people into cruel conditions. However, it is important to point out that many societies don’t realize they are in a dystopian society until they are already in one. This is the idea that has developed over the semester, which is more than just a society that suffers.

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