D.C. English 101
20 October, 2014
Dystopia or Utopia?
In the books 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury all have a theme of dystopia. Dystopia means an imperfect society. It is the opposite of utopia, which means a perfect society with no flaws. Dystopia is the word that comes to mind with the stories and political horrors with government control, politicians, and community leaders being those who are most opposed by the audience and the main characters in the stories throughout Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451.
First, in the book 1984 by George Orwell, dystopia is shown right off by the futuristic setting. Orwell shows the theme dystopia with the futuristic setting in 1984 by using the Thought Police and vaporization. The Thought Police are constantly monitoring the thoughts of Oceania citizens, to make sure they do not disobey “The Party” or “Big Brother”. In the book it says several times “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!” (Orwell 3), this saying creates fear in the citizens, and reminds them they are always being watched by their government. They do this to make sure the current government will stay in control. If any citizen ever even thinks about going against or betraying “The Party”, they get vaporized immediately. Being vaporized means that they basically make the citizen completely disappear and they also make it seem like they never existed. The author causes the reader to be afraid by using these forms of technology that are impossible in our world currently; this enhances the theme of dystopia. The main character Winston Smith, is always fighting his urge to go against and betray “The Party” because he knows what the consequence will be if he ever does betray them. This also greatly enhances the theme of dystopia in 1984.
Second, the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury has an underlying theme of dystopia as well. When reading just the first few pages of this book, the reader can get a feeling of dystopia very quickly. One of the first things that makes the reader think this is, is the fact that the firemen in Fahrenheit 451 burn books, instead of putting out fires, like they do in our modern day society. This seems very strange to use because it is not what we are used to, but this is a way the author enhances the theme of dystopia. We see this dystopian world through the eyes of the main character Guy Montag. He is one of the firemen that burn books, and he starts to question why he does this throughout the book, especially when he meets his new neighbor, Clarisse. She is a young girl that makes him think about the world in new ways and makes him wonder about his life, his ideals, and his own happiness. This is a quote from the book, ““Do you ever read any of the books you burn?” He laughed. “That’s against the law!” “Oh of course.”” (Bradbury 8). Montag is talking to Beatty, his boss about reading books. After this he takes an interest in reading and soon steals a book to read, instead of burning it. In this fictional world created by Bradbury, the reading of books is abandoned. If someone is caught with a book, they are sent to a mental hospital and their books are burned, or they are sentenced to death. This also enhances the theme of dystopia because the government does not want the people to know anything and only do what they want them too. Thirdly, the book Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley also has an underlying theme of dystopia. Most of the time there is a big difference between a utopia and dystopia, for some readers, this book can be seen as either. It is dystopia because the people are built in factories, rather than by human interaction, also in a child's upbringing, they go through conditioning. This is a quote from the book talking about conditioning “that is the secret of happiness and virtue- liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their...
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