Dystopia in Literature

Dystopia in literature

Farenheit 451 (Bradbury), 1984 (Orwell) and A Brave New World (Huxley) are three novels which are again, or still, topical. Ethical issues that contemporary society is struggling with, reproduction, genetic modification and cloning, the media, control and surveillance are all depicted in these three novels.

(Instruction for working with Dystopian literature to the right here.)

The review “Which Dystopian Novel Got It Right: Orwell’s ‘1984’ or Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’?”  refers to the US Presidential elections when

there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news, and “1984” began shooting up the Amazon best-seller list. The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president’s repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway’s explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, “alternative facts.” As any reader of “1984” knows, this is exactly Big Brother’s standard of truth: The facts are whatever the leader says they are (New York Times, FEB. 13, 2017).

These book are examples of dystopian literature, but what is a dystopia, or utopia? Dystopia is defined as

a world in which everything is imperfect and everything goes terribly wrong. Dystopian literature shows us a nightmarish image about what might happen in the near future. Usually the main themes of dystopian works are rebellion, oppression, revolutions, wars, overpopulation and disasters. On the other hand, utopia is a perfect world exactly opposite to dystopia (Literary Devices)

The idea of society gone wrong seem to have its dark allure on us. It is a recurring theme in books and films. The classics titles Farenheit 451, 1984 (Orwell) and A Brave New World are all listed in ShortLists’s “The 20 best dystopian novels”, but there are other titles, just as well known, and very topical today, such as Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale , listed with Huxley’s A Brave New World in the Encyclopedia Britannica as “10 Devastating Dystopias“.


More posts on this theme

Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

Aldous Huxley and ”A Brave New World”

A Brave New World

George Orwell

George Orwell’s 1984

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