Dystopia: Expounding the BAD & the UGLY

Dystopia was defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, and fearful lives. My biggest concern with this definition was the word “imagined.” Dystopias, in my opinion, are very much real. People’s daily hardships, oppressed groups specifically, are not imagined. Their privations can make their environments a living hell for them. Everyone in the world not experiencing the same hell does not make it any less real for the actual people who are. Furthermore, I was satisfied with this being recognized and changed for the definition our class molded. Our class’ definition of dystopia was, “An imaginary or real place whose people may lead a restricted and oppressive existence under some form of authority.” I am not, however, in complete agreeance with our class’ definition.

I, for one, do not understand the purpose of the word “imagined” in the definition. If the place spoken of in the definition is real for someone, it is real. Even if one is not agreeance with my previous statement, “a real or imagined place” is futile considering that they are antonyms. If something is not real, it is imagined. If something is not imagined, it is real. There is no way of straddling the middle. Furthermore, the “real or imagined” in reference to the place described should be released from the definition.

I also found the term “oppressive” in the definition to be redundant. While I do agree oppressed individuals are most likely to experience dystopias, the term “restricted” includes the oppressed and more. Oppressed groups are, in fact, restricted in power and/or resources. As a class, we agreed anyone (even those who are not oppressed) can circumstantially experience a dystopia.   Restricted is an umbrella term covering any group or individual who may be limited in any way. Furthermore, oppressed should be taken out of the definition as well. The definition should also adopt a word to depict how horrendous a dystopia truly is to those who experience it.

In conclusion, I believe Dystopia should be defined as “A vile place whose people may lead a restricted existence under some form of authority.”

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