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Dystopian Themes

Topics: Pages: 3 (621 words) / Published: May 23rd, 2012
Dystopian Themes

In dystopian novels, it is often seen that the way of living is not favorable and many common themes occur throughout different dystopian novels and some not so typical dystopian novels. Dystopia is defined as an imaginary place where the conditions of life are extremely bad and unpleasant. Although One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is not a typical dystopian novel, it shares similar themes as the dystopian novel 1984 such as, lack of privacy, total control, and instilling fear and torture into its “members”. One of the most well known dystopian novels is 1984 by George Orwell. 1984 demonstrates the perfect examples of how unpleasant a dystopian world is. One of the main issues in 1984 is the lack of privacy everyone within the party has. Big Brother is constantly watching everyone’s moves, via telescreens and microphones throughout the whole city. Big Brother watches everyone because they do not want anyone to go against the ideas of the “party” and what they think is correct. By constantly watching everyone’s every move, Big Brother is also demonstrating the element of total control. By having telescreens all over the city, shows how much control Big Brother has that he able to violate everyone’s privacy. The party didn’t just watch everyone; they also picked who you would be “intimate” with. For party members, sex was considered disgusting and should not be pleasurable. To make this happen, the party would choose who your significant other would be based on the fact that the two people have no physical attraction to each other. The point of sex was to produce children or spies for the party. The party also controlled how their members spoke by creating Newspeak, which are basically dumb downed words. Big Brother also brought in fear if anyone tried to go against the party. Room 101 represented your biggest fear and for Winston that was mice that were put in room 101 for him. Not only did the party bring fear into the members who went against them, they also tortured them by not feeding them when they were in jail.

In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, there is not a definite dystopian world in the movie, but it shares some of the same themes as other dystopian novels such as 1984. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest takes place within a mental facility. Due to the location, there is a lack of privacy within the novel. The patients all sleep in an open room and are constantly being watched by the guards to make sure they are not doing anything to harm themselves or others. Not only do they lack privacy but they lack control over everything they do because of their situation. The nurse is constantly trying to have the patients talk about uncomfortable subjects for them because she sees this as making them vulnerable and it will be easier to control them. The patients also have no control on whether or not they take the medication either. McMurphy tried to pass it up, but the nurse said if he doesn’t take it orally they will find another way to give it to him. The nurse also instilled fear into her patients so they would listen to her. After Billy acted out, she threatened him by saying she was going to tell his mother. It seemed like Billy’s biggest fear in life was disappointing his mother again and this eventually leads to his death. Also they gave McMurphy shock treatment twice because he misbehaved and did not follow the facilities rules. Despite not being a dystopian novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest had shown common dystopian themes that were also found in the novel 1984.

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