My Definition of Dystopia

At the beginning of this course, my definition of dystopia was a society in which leaders in the government create a conformist mindset amongst citizens by placing fear in them. Now based on what I have learned and absorbed throughout this class, my definition of dystopia is the oppression of a society for the benefit of a higher power. I say this, especially after my research project on Purge: The Series, because I don’t think a dystopia necessarily needs an authoritative leadership to be a dystopia (Purge: The Series happens in the modern-day United States to minimize yearly crime and unemployment rates). If people are oppressed in any fashion, whether that’s through violence, marginalization, powerlessness, exploitation, or cultural imperialism, citizens of a society ultimately are experiencing some sort of conformity within their country.

In Robinson’s “Dystopia’s Now,” the author describes dystopia as something that people fear the future will be. This fear comes from intellectual observations of what is occurring in our current state. The pessimism attached to dystopia is a result of oppression. In Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression,” we learn the role that oppression plays in our society. Oppression always leads to conformity, and conformity allows for dystopian societies. If we look at countries that live in what Americans would consider a dystopia (like North Korea) they use these oppression tactics to gain power. Even in “Brown Girl In The Ring,” we see Rudy’s use of violence, intimidation, and magic to keep the town under his rule led to citizens conforming. In each example presented there is a party that is benefitting and another that’s suffering. It seems to be the pattern of a dystopian society.

Overall, dystopia is the oppression of a society for the benefit of another, typically higher, authority. Citizens tend to conform in these situations and there’s a lack of opposition. What do you think a dystopia is?

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