Your Worst Nightmare

Dystopia: A fantasy world, setting, or lifestyle that encompasses its creator’s greatest fears, failures, and/or worries. 

The definition I made for dystopia stems from the ideas I received from my classmates. In our first micro lecture, the comment section was filled with thoughts on how dystopias are a personalized vision. Many of my peers posed the question of how to truly classify something as a dystopia? Because everyone has different spectrums of good or bad, is a dystopia something that is inherently despicable? Can someone’s dystopia be another person’s happy place?

I completely agreed with the questions raised by others. My definition of dystopia is inclusive of people’s perspective. We learned in class that there are many different examples of dystopian societies available in literature and film. All of those creators cultivated a place that was unique to them. The definition of dystopia should reflect that. I started off with the word “fantasy” because the dystopias created are hopefully fake and imaginative. Normally, I consider fantasy to have a positive connotation to it, but similar to the misconception of utopia, fantasy’s true definition does not specify good or bad. Next, I listed out potential formats of a dystopia: world, setting, or lifestyle. The scope of a dystopia is very broad. I wanted to incorporate formats that cover all the bases that I think dystopian societies include. Some dystopian authors change the entire globe and others focus on a country or state. Most creators also offer a first person perspective to show how the dystopia affects the characters and their lifestyle. The final aspect of my definition is the subject matter of dystopias. In my opinion, most dystopias are a projection of the author’s psyche. Specifically, dystopias seem to showcase a particular fear or worry that the author has about our changing society. Dystopias give authors a chance to pinpoint our shortcomings as a society or foresee small problems that could manifest later. By using the words fear, worry, and failure it adds the correct negative effect that the original definition of dystopia conveys while capturing the uniqueness of every dystopia. Overall, I think my goal of making a more inclusive and personalized definition of dystopia was accomplished with the statement above.

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