A dystopia, in my view, is an imaginary world in which individuals are subjected to dehumanizing conditions as a result of oppressive control. However, I also believe that the definition of dystopia can be subjective and can differ based on one’s experiences and perspectives. Two works of fiction that have shaped my definition of dystopia are “The Running Man (1987)” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” These two dystopian works show the dangers of government control, oppression, and the suppression of individual freedom.
In “The Running Man (1987),” people live in a dystopian society where the government controls everything, even the media. They use a deadly game show in order to control the public. Ben Richards, the protagonist, is forced to participate in this game show in order to regain his freedom, but he soon realizes that the game is rigged, and the only way to survive is to fight back against the corrupt government. I think this truly shows a dystopian society because, in this world, the government has complete control over the people by using fear and violence to maintain its power; and the government oppresses anyone who opposes them.
Similarly, in “The Handmaid’s Tale”, people live in a dystopian society in which a totalitarian government, known as the Republic of Gilead, has taken control of the country and has instead established a patriarchal, theocratic regime. Offred, who is one of the handmaids, is forced to bear children for her male oppressor. I believe this novel shows a dystopian society because, in this world, women have absolutely no say in matters, religion is used as a tool of oppression, and dissent is suppressed through gruesome ways. In this society, individual freedom is sacrificed for the ”greater good”, and those in power use fear and violence to maintain their control over the population.