A dystopia is defined as “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives” or “an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.” I believe that a dystopia is a real or imagined world in which one in power attempts to create a perfect world by instilling fear and oppression to a group of people. It is quite different from utopia, which is an imaginary perfect place. It is a place that is undesirable to live and where the people who live in it lack personal freedom. I believe my definition of a dystopia is a mixture of both literal definitions of the word dystopia.
In the dystopian works that I am aware of, they all seem to have the common theme of control and fear. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is one case. In Animal Farm, a group of farm animals rebel against their human farmer in order to change the conditions of their society (the farm). While they were hoping to have more freedom and equality, they end up under the rule of one animal who creates a dictatorship. The animals had to conform to rules that were called the “commandments,” and control and fear was used to keep them from disobeying.
Mark Dunn’s Ella Minnow Pea is another example of dystopian literature in which control is used to prevent citizens from breaking the law. In this case, the law is that they are unable to say or write banned letters of the alphabet. Doing so would result in severe punishment. Therefore, I believe that a dystopia is one that uses fear and punishment to enforce rules and control.