How to recognize a dystopia

What is Dystopia?

A Dystopia is a community or a society that is undesirable or frightening. It is basically an antonym of utopia (a good place). Utopia is a term coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516, which created a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty. According to one of the earlier usages known the term Dystopia was used by John Stuart Mill in his 1816 parliamentary speeches to denounce the government’s Irish land policy.

Dystopian societies mostly appear in fictional novels, paintings, movies and other forms of artwork. For example- The Avengers.

What are the characteristics of Dystopia?

The characteristics of Dystopia are mainly- Dehumanization, Tyrant Government, Environmental disaster, Religious Control, Technological Control, Nuclear Disaster, Loss of Individualism, or any other sudden, large scale violent event that can lead to destruction of the society.

Do dystopian societies exist?

As mentioned earlier the concept of dystopia (not a good place) is an antonym of the word utopia which is an imaginary ideal place. Therefore, primarily it is a fiction society. However, dystopian societies are based on true events that have occurred in the past or present and they are a depiction of reality. Example- Rogue politics, Famines, African Slavery or Wars.

If we take a look at some of the first dystopian novels they are an extreme depiction of the current scenarios. Like H.G Wells’ s “The Time Machine”, based on industrialism in the 1800s that gave rise to imprisonment of labourers; the rich became richer and poor became more poor. In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World he has drawn attention to the class system in the society.

With innovation in science, man’s imagination is limit. This has given to a new kind of dystopian society arising from the combination of unwanted inventions or misuse of the inventions that can lead to destruction.

How are Dystopian societies helpful?

Utopia or an ideal society is imaginary and different for everyone on the basis of their choice of thinking. The dystopian societies maybe also fictional but there’s not denying that they are based on true events in the past. It has warned that things that are meant to result into a formation of a better, ideal society can go wrong. For example, in the movie transformers the automobiles turn against their creators. It has shown us that when someone tries to achieve their ideal society, there’s always a catch. In this process of achieving an ideal society, other people can be adversely affected. And if the society is built on the foundation on someone else’s suffering is it really ideal?

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