The main purpose of the dystopian genre is to warn society about a possible future if certain societal or political aspects aren’t acted upon. The genre is fictional which allows authors of all different types of text to create a dark future which explores the social and political structures of the world we live in today. Dystopian texts have a huge impact on the population because of the way they are able to convey the ideas of the author and the faults in the political or social constructs which the authors are able to see in today’s world. Due to its popularity, it has spread into almost every form of media from books to songs, it has seeped into everyone’s conscious knowingly or unknowingly. Even across all different forms of text, they all able to convey the ideas of freedom and individuality across with the use of specific language features and structure.
Although the dystopian genre can convey countless ideas, one of the main than is freedom and individuality, this can be seen in almost every dystopian text. It can be seen in some of the most well known dystopian novels, the likes of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. These are two very good and popular examples. In Nineteen Eighty-Four the freedom of its citizens has been stripped away with the use of surveillance by Big Brother. At the time when Nineteen Eighty-Four was written World War two had just finished and people were scared of communism, George Orwell did an excellent job in bringing this to light with his novels ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. Especially in Nineteen Eighty-Four, he showed us how communism such as Big Brother was able to strip away the freedom of this citizens with the advanced technology of the telescreens and proles. The telescreens and proles were made up technology that Goerge Orwell came up with to scare the population at the time to stay away from communism. Although this novel was written 1944 it is still relevant today with the population worried that their freedom is being stripped away with advances in technology. “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” This quote from Nineteen Eighty-Four shows us how our freedom of thought is being manipulated and is relevant in today’s world with how politicians lie to gain power an example of this would be Donald Trump, he is known for lying and manipulating the truth, this is how Goerge Orwell warns us that we should be more careful towards political leaders as they may be trying to stop away your freedom.
The same can be seen in the Handmaid’s Tale were Margret Atwood created a future where the handmaids are confined with their freedom stripped away. Handmaid’s Tale is different from Nineteen Eighty-Four but still convey the same ideas of freedom and individuality. The handmaids have very little freedom. “We used to talk about buying a house like one of these, an old big house, fixing it up …. Although we knew it wasn’t too likely we could ever afford it, it was something to talk about, a game for Sundays. Such freedom now seems almost weightless.” The Narrator show us how these banal acts that we take for granted in today’s world such as buying a house and having a family are such just figments of their imagination. This is a good warning about the future with overpopulation being a big issue which means having a family could also be a dream for many poeple in the future.
The dystopian genre is not only for novels, but it has also spread into movies. One great example of a dystopian movie is Minority Report by Steven Spielberg. It is set in the future were three special people call pre-cogs are able to see if you commit a murder in the future. The protagonist John Anderton is charged for a murder which he hasn’t even committed yet which is called pre-crime. This makes it a great example of how our freedom is at risk, although it is more far-fetched than the two novels, it brings up the question of should we punish someone before they have committed a crime, this directly links to freedom. It directly links back to real life, in America post 9/11 people gave up some of their freedom to allow the government to protect them but where should we draw the line, Minority Report is a good example where that line has been crossed and how people freedom has been stripped away by the people in charge of abusing their power to control their citizens. In one scene from Minority Report which shows us John fighting for his freedom is just after the pre-cogs had predicted a murder in his future and he escapes. This is a good example of how people shouldn’t give up their freedom because John shows us that the pre-cogs will not always be correct and that we should choose our own destiny.
Finally, you can also see the dystopian genre in songs a good example is ‘2+2=5″ – Radiohead with its gloomy sounds and meaning behind the lyrics. The song title is a reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four by Goerge Orwell. This song is also in the dystopian genre and has similar points about freedom. The song warns us about our freedom in the same way the other examples have, it focuses on our freedom of thought with people in the future being brainwashed into thinking a certain way. “Your such a dreamer, To put the world to rights? I’ll stay at home forever, Where two and two always makes a five”. Freedom of thought is as important as your freedom as people in charge try to take away your freedom of thought to keep control over you. This track is a warning us about how we should try to keep our freedom of thought to help protect our freedom as our freedom of thought is part of our identity and we shouldn’t let people in charge strip away our freedom which gives them more control.
Authors have been able to use the dystopian genre to a great extent. Even spreading across all most all forms of media the purpose of always remaining the same. It is used to warn us about the societal and political structures of the world we live in today by bringing up key points which the authors are able to see. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Goerge Orwell warned us about communism by showing us how a communist country would look like. In Handmaids Tale it warns us about how our freedom in actions could be stripped away with not even being allowed to do small acts that we take for granted in today’s world. The film Minority Report, Steven Speilberg warned us about our freedom of our future and our destiny with being incarcerated even before you have committed a crime. Even songs such as 2+2=5 by Radiohead uses dystopia to warn us about the future with our freedom of thought being controlled. These are only four examples of how dystopia has been used in three different forms of media to help warn us about the future with societal and political constructs of the world we live in today.