Have you ever heard about dystopian literature? What are its characteristic features? Dystopian literature is a very interesting and original genre. In general, a dystopia is an unfavorable society, which exists under the negative circumstances. Very often, authors describe the nearest future and alternate reality, which is characterized with the totalitarian or repressive society. One must not confuse dystopia with utopia, because the latter denotes the ideal society, where everyone is satisfied with his lifestyle. The biggest popularity of this genre occurred in the first half of the 20th century, which is known for numerous international conflicts and the development of totalitarian regimes in different countries. Many authors focused on the problem of dystopia in their books; therefore, I would like to pay attention to some of them.
To begin with, I would like to focus on Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley in 1932. The author described his own vision of the alternate society, which is based on the achievements of science and technology. This society is happy, harmonious and humane. Unfortunately, the members of this society do not possess any human qualities. Firstly, they are reproduced artificially in the special centers. Natural reproduction, emotions and individualism are abolished. People are divided into several castes. There are unintelligent servants and intelligent Alphas who ‘rule the world’. Every human being knows his definite place in this society. Happiness is maintained with the help of the encouragement of recreational sex and hallucinogenic drugs. People do not have families, children and any romantic feelings. They live for work, material values and pleasure. People have artificial happiness but they do not possess the freedom of choice.
Another famous book of this genre is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. The author imagined a totalitarian society of the highest level. The entire life in the country is directed by the political party, which does not have any opponents. People do not have the right for alternative thoughts and activity. They should watch TV and listen to the elusive success of the leader of the party. They priligy online have to support the domestic and foreign policy of the state. The entire world is divided into three huge countries, which are always at war with one another. Moreover, the party imagines new and new enemies in order to keep the society in the constant condition of fear and helplessness. The party oppresses and punishes every attempt of individualism and critical thinking. The history of the state is corrected and rewritten every day. Every human being is a simple element of the huge totalitarian political organism.
The last important dystopian book is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. His imaginary world is characterized with the totalitarian society and anti-intellectualism. The author showed that the best way of keeping people under control is their ignorance. No wonder, the government of the state prohibited books, because reading is dangerous for people. They can start thinking about their position and their meaningless lifestyle. Consequently, they will want to change the conditions of their life. Finally, they will want to change the government or the leader of the country. The stability of the state is maintained by the class of the ‘firemen’ who do not need to defeat the fire. Their main duty is to burn every outlawed book. Some people keep such books at home remembering about the previous years of the old lifestyle. They are treated like the members of opposition and are punished severely.
Dystopia is a very interesting genre, which demonstrates human negative sides and weaknesses. Every author shows that it is easy to build a totalitarian state but it is difficult to change your worldview and to start thinking critically. Every dystopian book is based on the description of a ‘new world’ or an alternate reality and the main character who tries to change his environment and struggles against the standards of life, which exist in his society.
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Why Is Dystopian Literature So Popular Genre Among the Young Adults?
In a modern society gripped by social, educational, and governmental fears, young adults cling to the ideal of a singularly relatable hero with whom they can identify. This hero transcends the boundaries that are placed upon them and their communities by a higher and omnipresent power. These dystopian worlds are most often the result of an apocalyptic event that destroyed humanity and its comfortable state of living. This “reboot” to society is a modern reflection of past colonists seeking independence from George III.
Young adults are drawn to this hero complex due to its youthful and remarkable protagonists. These protagonists go through the motions of their overly scrutinized lives, but possess an inner spark that sets them apart from the rest of their peers. The underlying theme in this style of literature is rebellion, a nod to pre-teen and teen attitudes towards authority, thus their affinity to it.
In The Hunger Games, the young female protagonist, Katniss, is emotionally reserved with quiet strength. She becomes the pioneering symbol of the revolution in an impoverished world governed by tyranny. “I volunteer!’ I gasp. ‘I volunteer as tribute!” (p. 22) is one of the most notable quotes made by Katniss. It is the ultimate declaration of sacrifice and rebellion against the oppressor — to volunteer in place of her younger sister and challenge their system of ideals. There is also The Giver, set in a futuristic dystopia, where the government has regained control of the masses by absolving them of emotions and memories. Jonas, the protagonist, has been chosen to be the Receiver of Memories but is not allowed to reveal them. He takes it upon himself to return the emotions, so that the universe can experience the world through their own eyes. “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared” (p. 154). This literature is a representation of the “live wild and free” notion that most young adults would consider their mantra of youth.
Dystopian literature allows young adults to gain a sense of purpose by living vicariously through the characters in their books who represent the emergence of a powerful generation.
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