Utopian and Dystopian Fiction

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What is Utopia? According to The Random House Dictionary, utopia is a place or state of political or social perfection based upon the novel of Utopia by Thomas More. Philosophers, writers of all sorts of novels and movies are constantly trying to imagine and conceive plans for an idyllic state of today. The irony of utopia is that it means ‘no place, good place’ implying that utopia is an idealistic place that can never happen in reality. Then, what is dystopia? Thefreedictionary.com’s definition for dystopia is an imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad. But when all the writers think about their utopian places, just as many dystopian elements will come about as a “perfect” society just cannot happen. Thomas More wrote a book, Utopia in the 1500’s, in the time of Renaissance and Humanism, where he could express his views on society being governed by King Henry VIII. George Orwell also wrote a book Nineteen Eighty-Four or more commonly known as 1984, in the 1950’s, a time after WWII where it had devastating effects on the world. It also brought to the rise of dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin who all had different totalitarian regimes but political differences. A movie was also created in 2005 directed by Michael Bay, The Island, which is set in the near distant future to warn us about the future of human society and loss of individual expression in conformist societies. These three texts have been written to express the authors view on a utopian world, all which have significance to the society it was planned for. These texts make us to question what a real utopia would look like and how everyone would work in it but it will criticise the current society. However, it also presents hope for the future and how we may better serve one another in this world.

Firstly, we see that uniformity and conformity is evident in all three texts as the main characters are not presented with anything different than to what is already there. Uniformity is a condition which everything is regular and nothing changes, and this affects the way people act towards society and how they will behave, which is evident in Utopia, 1984, and The Island. More has written Utopia in two books. Book One is largely a dialogue between three men, Raphael Hythloday, Peter Gilles and Thomas More. It is a representation of criticism of the social, economic and political conditions of More’s time during the early 1500’s on the eve of Reformation when Henry VII was in power. Hythloday is having a conversation with Gilles and More about his travels but ends up debating the corruptness of the government and the failures of the English society. This book ends by considering a society, Utopia, which is much ahead socially, economically and politically. Book Two as primarily about Hythloday explaining to More and Gilles about the laws, traditions, government and general lifestyle of the Utopia. It begins by defining the geographical elements of Utopia in order to make it appear like an actual place. He then explores the political, religions, economical and social aspects for people living in this Utopian society. Hythloday aims to show how their European society can improve and learn from this Utopian society for the future. In Utopia, you can see that the both parts of the book are written in a way that is almost a guideline for people to abide to. This shows the conformity people have when living in this Utopian world where your voice is not heard as there are rules which state the way you live. Families help populate this utopian society but even through this, they have to follow a strict policy to make sure that towns do not “become overpopulated” (slide 4). The uniformity of only being able to own “a single piece of clothing” for every two years instills that all the Utopians are equal and is symbolic of the fond sameness - there’s no such thing as change (slide 1). Utopia can be considered significant as it is...
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