How do I define dystopia?

My definition of a dystopia is a fictional society in which the ruling body creates strict oppressive conditions to control the general public. I created this identification based on the experiences I have had with different dystopian media. Popular books and other media such as the Hunger Games, 1984, and The Matrix, have shaped what I consider essential to a dystopian story. 

The¬†defining¬†characteristic of a¬†dystopia, in my¬†opinion, is control. The people are controlled with communication¬†monitoring,¬†propaganda, threats of¬†violence, economic oppression, abject poverty, and/or rigid class roles. For example, in the Hunger Games, the Capitol holds the hunger games every year¬†as a reminder of the districts’ defeat. With the wealth heavily concentrated at the Capitol, most people are so¬†impoverished¬†that they¬†can not¬†eat¬†consistently. To make matters worse, in exchange for extra rations of food and oil families can enter their children’s names into the reaping additional times. This causes the children of poor families to have more entries in the reaping than children of wealthy families. The primary sources of control shown through this are state-sponsored¬†violence¬†and extreme¬†economic¬†oppression. 1984 is one of the most famous and extreme dystopian societies. In the book,¬†dystopian¬†control is seen as the¬†totalitarian¬†ruling Party with its’ censorship,¬†¬†propaganda, and surveillance. The control on the people is so tight, that the main character Winston is concerned about thought crimes and how Big Brother is always¬†watching. There is also control through manipulation, violence, and control of information, language, and technology among others. The Matrix is more¬†nebulous than the other examples I have used. The characters in The Matrix are in a mind control simulation where they think they have free will, but everything is controlled, preconstructed, and predetermined.¬† All of these examples support my definition that¬†dystopia¬†is a society¬†of oppressive¬†control by¬†egregious means.¬†

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