A society is, by definition, a group of people with similar interests, beliefs, and ways of life, residing and perpetuating in a specific area. Societies include people, who are organized into families, tight-knit groups of friends, and acquaintances. Individuals within a society possess certain religious affiliations, and are associated with specific institutions and workplaces. This idea of a community allows human beings to act upon their social predispositions, while still submitting to leadership, so long as the leadership seeks to serve the people.
What happens, though, when society goes bad? What happens when the government controls every facet of an individual’s life, when all traces of emotion, thought, and feeling are lost completely, and when husbands and wives, parents and children are turned against each other? This is a dystopian society. The topic of a dystopian society is one that is used frequently in literature. Authors often utilize this type of situation in their writing to satirize the society around them, or to provide a warning against what could possibly happen to the world.Order now
Three of the most prominent novels that are classified as dystopian literature are Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In each of these novels, the respective author is attempting to accomplish a certain goal. In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley is warning society about the dangers of becoming too hedonistic and technologically advanced. Huxley also satirizes people who are constantly in pursuit of instant happiness Booker 171.
With the writing of 1984, George Orwell is warning against leaders who are hungry for power. These people would not hesitate to strip individuals of every freedom if it meant prolonging their control Booker 208. Lastly, in Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury was responding to America’s cultural environment in the 1950’s Booker 88. He was warning against extreme censorship, the disappearance of real relationships, and the development of a very fast-paced society.
As with all dystopian writers, the writers of these three novels chose to include certain dystopian characteristics in their writing; these characteristics include: a powerful governing body, social classes, skewed relationships between individuals, a skewed sense of identity, censorship, technology, brainwashing, and rebellion by certain characters. In most dystopian literature, the government in power exerts a great amount of control over the lives of the people, often controlling their very actions and thoughts. The citizens are divided into distinct social classes, and they have no control over the matter.
Oftentimes, the government will predetermine the identity of an individual, and emotionally, all subjects are identical. In a dystopian society, the government will use a few methods for controlling the identity of an individual. Censorship is defined psychologically as the “prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness except in a disguised form. ” Censorship can be protecting the people for their own good; however, dystopian rules use it to censor all things that are not promoting their leadership and society.
Technology is “the application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives. ” Technology is crucial for any powerful nation or state, however, in dystopian societies; technology is used only to further the goals of the government. Lastly, brainwashing is “the application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation. ” Brainwashing is never a positive thing, and unfortunately, all citizens in a dystopian society have had their minds molded through the use of brainwashing techniques.
As with any society, a dystopian society is ruled by a governing body. However, the motivations of the governing body are what separate a normal society from a dystopian society. In a dystopian, or dysfunctional, society, the government usually seeks to promote its own goals and aspirations without taking into account the thoughts and needs of the people. This is seen heavily in all three dystopian novels. The first of the three, Brave New World, takes place in futuristic London. In the World State, the lives of the citizens are controlled in every way by the government.
The government decides what class they will belong to, what job they will have, where they will live, what they will enjoy, and what activities they can take part in Huxley 12. This may seem like a daunting task, however, it is made simple due to the fact that every individual is manufactured to be exactly the same, figuring for social status which varies, but is also determined by the government. There are ten major rulers in government; they are called World Controllers Huxley 33. The resident World Controller in the story is named Mustapha Mond, and he is the World Controller in Western Europe Huxley 32.
Lastly, the cultural hero in the novel is Henry Ford, who is worshipped like a God Huxley 191. Citizens commonly use expressions such as “My Ford! ” and “Fordspeed”. In the novel, 1984, the governing body is known the Party. The job of the Party is to supervise and control all activities of life, which they do through the faÃ§ade of Big Brother, who is supposed to be the supreme ruler in the government. The only thing this government is concerned with is prolonging their own power. In order to do this, they must strip citizens of all freedom, including freedom of thought.
The goal of the Party is to create the ultimate dystopia, completely opposite of Huxley’s hedonistic society. In this society, the government is present in every area of the life of an individual. The government supplies a person with their occupation, food, and housing. All daily activities are controlled by Big Brother, loud alarms sound when it is time for a person to do their daily exercises and the like Orwell 30. Big Brother also monitors people closely to detect any suspicious behavior, and distributes propaganda posters Orwell 5.
Basically, everything that happens in the world and to the individual is the result of the government. There is no individualism at all, and conformist behavior is essential. The government is the eye that is constantly watching over its subjects. The novel Fahrenheit 451 takes place in futuristic America. The government in place is a totalitarian government, which makes use of censorship and brainwashing. The citizens do not think for themselves, in fact, they hardly think at all. They are constantly bombarded by media that real thoughts cannot manifest.
This is what the government is striving for, because during the course of the novel, it is trying to cover up a huge war that threatens to destroy the world. If people have no time to think or ponder philosophically, they will not question the motivations and actions of their government. One thing that is unique to this society is the fact that the citizens willingly submit to the government. In Brave New World, citizens are brainwashed, so they cannot think anything different, and in 1984, the citizens are forced to conform. In Fahrenheit 451, citizens are brainwashed, but it is with their consent.
The people are fully capable of turning off their huge televisions, taking out the seashell radios, driving slower, and taking time to think, but they chose not to. It is easier for them to get caught up a fast paced, media-driven world. If a person was to decide to turn off their television for a while, the government would not come after them, and they would not be punished, however, they all chose to live the way that they do, and that is what has become acceptable in society. In many dystopian civilizations, the citizens are divided up into social classes.
A social class is defined as a group of people with the same social and economic status. This type of social status is seen in almost every civilization in the world; however, dystopian societies implement the class system in different ways. Often, the people have no control over which class they belong to, it is usually dictated by the government. As with all things, the government utilizes the class system to further its own interests. Brave New World is a novel that displays the class system very clearly. In the novel, the citizens are divided up into five distinct social classes; these include Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons.
They are all “conceived” in test tubes through the Bokanovsky process, which produces ninety-six infants from one single fertilized egg Huxley 4. These growing infants are given food and other necessities via injections into their test tube fluid. As the fetuses mature, they are provided with what they require at that point in their gestation. It is all very systematic, and if one step is skipped or neglected, there are serious results. Now, there are some instances in which select fetuses will be deprived of important things.
In the creation of an Epsilon, for example, the fetus will be deprived of oxygen Huxley 13. This deprivation leads to decreased mental capability in the child, and later in the adult. Since the Epsilon will only be used for menial tasks, like manual labor, there is no need for it to have a high level of intelligence. Epsilons and Deltas are also genetically engineered to have a great amount of strength and endurance, which will suit them in their positions as they mature. On the other hand, the highest class, the Alphas, are engineered to have extremely high intelligence quotients.
This is necessary because they will one day assume occupations that require a higher amount of intelligence and reasoning ability Huxley 16. This society is very class-oriented, and the classes are very obvious. One has to wonder, though, if Epsilons or Deltas ever feel angry that they were not predestined to be Alphas. The answer is that they do not. Much of the government’s technological efforts are directed toward this, because if the class system is not stable, everything fails. Citizens must first be content in their social class if they are to function in society Huxley 15.
Since the classes in this society are so distinguished, there is hardly any reason for individuals of two different classes to associate with each other Huxley 27. The Epsilons and Deltas serve the Alphas and the Betas. As far as relationships within the classes go, there are friends, and lovers. The only variable that this is dependent upon is gender. Everyone of the opposite sex is a potential lover. The government uses the class system in this civilization to make society run very smoothly. All members of each class are essentially the same, and the lower classes are even made up of exact clones.
This makes everything run nicely because there is never a shortage of manual laborers or of highly skilled white collar workers. The government can manufacture as many citizens from each class as it needs to in order to maintain stability Huxley 9. In the novel, 1984, there are three distinct social classes. The first class is made up of the inner party members Orwell 12. These are the individuals that are involved first hand in the government; they are usually involved with the Thought Police Orwell 6, Ministry of Truth Orwell 8, and the like.
These people work under the faÃ§ade of Big Brother, and their job is to make sure that everything is running smoothly and that there is no unorthodoxy going on. The second, and biggest, social class is known as the outer party Orwell 29. These are the average citizens. These people are under constant surveillance by the inner party members and Big Brother. Everything about their daily lives is controlled by the government. They are designated jobs and homes, and the government directs their every action. These people are also the target of all of Big Brother’s propaganda.
The signs and posters reading “Big Brother is watching you! ” are all directed towards them Orwell 5. They also have to go through the two minute’s hate every day, and their lives are monitored continuously via telescreens Orwell 3-16. This party is under the greatest scrutiny by their government. The last party in Orwell’s dystopian society is known as the Proles. A Prole is the Newspeak way of describing a member of the proletariat or working class. In this society, the Proles are equated with animals, and therefore are relatively free compared to members of the party Orwell 62.
Unlike the party members, whose lives are constantly monitored through telescreens, the world of the Proles is relatively free of such devices Orwell 82. The reason for this is that the Proles lack advanced reasoning ability and cannot organize Orwell 73. The government simply uses them for menial tasks, much like Deltas and Epsilons in Huxley’s Brave New World. The Proles are only concerned with the basic needs of life, eating, drinking, breeding, and fighting. They pose no threat to the government, so therefore, they are granted much more freedom than are members of the party Orwell 62.
The last novel, Fahrenheit 451 differs from the previous two in that the social class are indistinct from those we know of today. Although the government censors written literature and bombards citizens with media, the socio-economic situation is virtually the same as it is in America in this day and age. If a person is poor, it is not because the government has made them that way; the same concept applies to the wealthy. The government does not control a person’s occupation or housing. Also, the government does not alter an individual’s personal capacity for performance to suit its needs.
There really is no way that the government takes advantage of the class system in this dystopian society. In a dystopian society, government controls everything about the life of an individual. This control leads to the distortion of relationships. In dystopian societies, relationships are skewed; there are no true friendships or intimate relationships. Even families, the tightest social unit, are twisted. In Huxley’s Brave New World there are two different types of relationships, relationships between people of the same social class, and people of different social classes.
As far as relationships within the classes go, there are friends, and lovers. The only variable that this is dependent upon is gender. Everyone of the opposite sex is a potential lover, and everyone of the same sex is a friend or comrade Huxley 67. Each night, the citizens go out and engage in unrestricted sexual activity with members of their own social class, and the next day they refer last night’s lover to their best friend Huxley 44. Conversely, members of a certain class do not associate with members of another. Epsilons and Deltas serve the Alphas and Betas by getting their helicopters ready, operating their elevators, and the like.
There are no friendships or sexual relationships between members of these classes. The government uses these relationships to promote a hedonistic way of life. Since everyone is allowed complete access to everyone at all times, there is never unhappiness or the consciousness of a desire that cannot be fulfilled. The relationships between individuals in the novel, 1984 differ greatly from the relationships between individuals in Huxley’s dystopia. In the World State, there is no trust, and camaraderie is non-existent, although the government tries to make it look as though it does exist.
In this society, citizens refer to each other as “comrade” Orwell 20. This words implies a sense of friendship, fidelity, and trust, however these things are not present in relationships in this dystopian world. In fact, there is a complete absence of trust; children are encouraged to rat out their parents, and spouses are urged to report unorthodox behavior in each other Orwell 24. They all serve as extensions of the government, and the Thought Police, the secret police who use psychology and surveillance to monitor thought crimes Orwell 6.
If a person is unable to trust their spouse, they will not be able to trust anybody else. Life is full of suspicion; a person never knows who is for, and who is against Big Brother; so it is better if they do not trust anybody, misjudgment could have deadly effects. Unlike Huxley’s society, sexuality is strictly controlled in Orwell’s novel. The government accepts the Freudian energy-based model, which says the energy that is required for sex could be used to serve the party Orwell 42. The government says that sex is a very disagreeable activity, and should be used for procreating strictly in the context of marriage Orwell 58.
The control of sexual relationships also serves to control the formation of strong emotional attachments between individuals. These kinds of attachments are undesirable to the government. Lastly, in this dystopian society, families and friends do exist, however the words carry different meanings. People will consider themselves to be friends, although they hold no trust between them, and they do not confide in each other 43. Likewise, a family is made up of parents and offspring, but there is no love or caring between family members.
Unlike in the previous two novels, the citizens in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 do not suffer from government control in their relationships. The relationships between people are skewed; however, it is not the government’s doing. The people have submitted to a fast-paced, media driven world, so their relationships have suffered because of it. For example, the relationship between fireman Guy Montag and his wife Mildred is virtually nonexistent. Mildred’s mind is so bombarded by media that she has become completely detached from reality. Guy even asked Mildred when and where they first met, and she had no idea. “When did we meet’? And where? When did we meet for what? ‘
She asked. ‘I meanâ€”originally’â€¦. ‘I don’t know’, she saidâ€¦’It doesn’t matter” Bradbury 42-43. Also, other citizens do not have relationships with each other. They gather as friends, but do not talk of anything of significance; all they do is watch their giant television screens. “Or I listen at soda fountains, and do you know what? ‘ ‘What? ‘ ‘People don’t talk about anything. ‘ ‘Oh, they must! ‘ ‘No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else” Bradbury31.
These people think that they have friendships, healthy marriages, and happy lives, but in reality they are all blinded by the whirlwind of noises and images that surrounds them daily. Personal identity is defined as the distinct personality traits that define an individual dictionary. Due to the fact that their society is dysfunctional, citizens in a dystopian society are made to have skewed views of themselves and their personal identities. In Brave New World, the free sex idea forces individuals to accept twisted ideas of themselves, and their identities.
As young children, citizens are conditioned to believe that everyone belongs to everyone else Huxley 30. Instead of being possessive of his lover, a man will instead refer her to his friend Huxley 39. If everyone belongs to everyone else, a person is no more their own than they are their neighbor’s. People have no more worth than a piece of property or furniture. Once they have lived their useful life, they die, and society moves on. One person is not important to any one other person. Also, death is a very accepted part of life. As children, citizens are conditioned so that they do not fear death Huxley 208.
Since people have no moral worth, and they do not form romantic ties or intimate friendships, they feel that they are no more important to the world than a piece of furniture. They serve their purpose, and they have some fun, but there is nothing beyond that. A person’s true character and identity are evident through their thoughts and verbal expressions. For the citizens of Orwell’s 1984, their identities are skewed because they are not permitted to conceive original thoughts, read literary classics, and express themselves verbally. Citizens are monitored constantly through telescreens, in their homes and public places.
Big Brother is always watching on the other side, and people must be very conscientious of how they are behaving. People’s thoughts are also monitored by the government. Thoughts are controlled by what is called the Thought Police Orwell 6. The Thought Police is the secret police that uses psychology and observation to detect anti-party thoughts in party members. When a person’s very thoughts are taken away from them, their very identity goes away. Everyone becomes the same, just mindless followers of the party. Lastly, the new language of Orwell’s dystopia, called Newspeak, seeks to take away individual identity.
Newspeak is defined as “any attempt to restrict disapproved language by a government or other powerful entity” Orwell 45-46. Through the usage of Newspeak, the Party is removing all unnecessary words from the language. If people have no words to express their thoughts, the thoughts cease to exist. Thoughts cannot exist without a means of expressing them. It is in these ways that the government forces its citizens to adopt a skewed personal identity. In order to develop a positive identity, it is necessary for an individual to have time to think and reflect on life, and what their life means.
However, in Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, citizens live lives that are so bombarded by media, that they have lost all traces of personal identity. They have become shells, only caring about the visual and the auditory things they can experience. Most people have television screens the size of walls in their house and usually two or more walls will be made up of these television screens. The volume on the televisions is always turned up very high, and the programs are all loud so it is impossible to talk over them. Also, the citizens drive very fast, usually over 100 miles per hour.
This is dangerous, and it is impossible to carry on a conversation at this speed with the wind whipping inside the car. Lastly, they always have little seashell radios plugged into their ears. These radios are on anytime when other media is not available, even during sleep. “And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind” Bradbury 12. They completely lack meaning and purpose in their lives, and these things also help shape a person’s identity.
One of the main ways that totalitarian governments get their ideas into the minds of the public is through the use of censorship. Censorship is the “prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness except in a disguised form” dictionary. Censorship is used in the society of Brave New World as a means of eliminating strong feelings. Those who lead this civilization believe that if people are permitted to read things like Shakespeare, which are filled with strong emotions, they will be filled with emotion as well Huxley 124-125.
As far as this society is concerned, emotion in general is a bad thing. It is undesirable for people to drift away from their perfect happiness. They should not be reading anything that could provoke sadness or any similar feeling. The leaders of society desire stability, emotions are by nature unstable, which is why they are not allowed. Also, the themes written about in poetry are things that citizens would have no understanding of. Shakespeare’s poetry talks about love and pain, both of which are not present in society.
Censorship is a true mark of a dystopian society because it allows the government to control what the populace sees, which in turn will control what the populace feels. In the World State, beautiful works of art are censored, because the leaders do not want the people feeling any kind of strong emotion that could result from reading those works. The leaders at the conditioning centre also use different forms of aversion therapy to eliminate the childlike attraction to beautiful objects. For example, at the conditioning centre, it was time for a group of Bokanovsky babies to learn to dislike books and flowers.
So, the nurses laid colorful books and roses on the floor and released the babies. As the babies approached the books, there was an explosion of sirens causing the babies’ “faces to be distorted with terror” Huxley 19-20. This horrible scene is just one example of how, at a young age, citizens are forced to form an aversion to things like flowers, and therefore leave behind the natural human love for nature and color Huxley 21. Censorship is seen very heavily in 1984. It is the main means by which citizens in the society loose their identities; it prevents citizens from conceiving original thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
One of the major ways that the government censors what the populace sees is through the Ministry of Truth. This ministry controls all literature that circulates in Oceania. It is the official producer of “lying propaganda” Orwell 8. It is also in charge of the telescreens and party organization. Winston Smith, one of the main characters, works for the ministry of truth, rewriting history Orwell 40. The ministry has a policy of amending any written documents that speak against the government. It is constantly revising history, and will even invent people that do not exist to support the party.
Since the government is the ultimate source of truth, it is never wrong Orwell 42. Another way that the government heavily censors people’s lives is through the adoption of Newspeak. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. One of the goals of Newspeak is to censor out any words that are in opposition to the party. In fact, all words deemed unnecessary are deleted. For example, the word ‘wonderful’ is not needed, so the word ‘good’ is used. However, in order to show that something is more than good, a plus is added in front, so the word becomes ‘plusgood’.
If ‘plusgood’ simply will not do, and whatever is being talked about is amazingly wonderful, the word can be changed to be ‘doubleplusgood’. This system makes language very systematic, and instead of having to choose between words like ‘wonderful’, ‘excellent’, or ‘amazing’, one needs only to say ‘doubleplusgood! ‘ “Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well… If you have a word like "good", what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well…
Or again, if you want a stronger version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning or ‘doubleplusgood’ if you want something stronger still…. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words; in reality, only one word” Orwell 45-46. In essence, one of the main goals of Newspeak is to allow citizens to express entire concepts, such as the difference between good and bad, with only one word and its variations.
In this society, the Thought Police are used to censor the thoughts of individuals. People are only permitted to think thoughts that are in support of Big Brother, and if the Thought Police detect suspicion, the person is dealt with harshly. This police force instills much fear in the populace, and causes a great amount of distrust amongst individuals. People do not know whom they can trust, so this prevents them from discussing things such as rebellion against the party Orwell 18. A person’s own wife may be a member of the Thought Police, just waiting for her husband to say something suspicious.
Censorship is a main theme in Fahrenheit 451. Written literature is banned in this civilization, and anyone who is found to be in possession of a book is punished severely. There is a whole occupation that is devoted to the burning of books, these people are called firemen. The firemen receive calls at the station, go to the place where the books are, drench the home in kerosene, and light it on fire. There are many reasons why books are obsolete in this society. First of all, the people and government believe that books have nothing important to say.
Also, since the attention span of people has decreased to almost zero, no one has the time or patience to sit down and read. Lastly, books are seen as a source for stress and anger. Books supposedly discriminate against minority groups, they contain problems and theories that don’t line up, and generally threaten the stability of society wikipedia. It is for these reasons that the government has decided to put the charge of heresy on anyone found with a book wikipedia. To replace books, the government distributes comic books, sex magazines, and television shows, which supply the populace of what it desires, entertainment.
Technology is “the application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives” dictionary. This use of science is used in Huxley’s Brave New World for a variety of ends. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the novel is the advanced technology that is present in the society. In the World State, technology is used to produce babies and condition children. Technological machines are used to immerse the populace in an ever-present flow of noise and media, which prevents the manifestation of thought and emotion.
Technology has also supplied advanced methods of contraception, so that the people can engage in free sex, and pregnancy is totally eliminated Huxley 50. Lastly, technology has allowed the people to age, while showing no physical signs of it Huxley 111. Illness and disease are not present in society as well. Life in the World State begins at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre Huxley 1. It is here where eggs are fertilized, incubated, decanted, and conditioned as children, so that they may one day be released, to go out into the world as fully functioning members of society.
In this society, eggs are produced using the Bokanovsky process. In a normal world, one egg equals one embryo, which equals one adult; however, the Bokanovsky process allows the hatchery leaders to manufacture up to ninety-six normal adults from one fertilized egg Huxley 4. Stability is the primary concern for leaders, and being able to control the world’s population like that is desirable. Once these fetuses are decanted, or born, they begin conditioning, which lasts from infancy to the late teens. The goal of conditioning is for the leaders to impart the ideology of the World State into the minds of the youngsters.
By the end of conditioning, each young adult will have centralized the ideology, and will obey it without question. The main medium of conditioning is known as hypnopÃ¦dia Huxley 24. HypnopÃ¦dia is when certain catch phrases are replayed over and over while the children are sleeping. For example, the phrase “everybody’s happy now” is repeated 150 times a night for twelve years. This type of technology allows the idea’s of the government to manifest themselves in the children. Technology also provides citizens of the World State with complicated methods of entertainment, known to them as games.
They are not permitted to play any game that does not require many expensive parts. Some of these games include “Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy”, “Riemann Surface Tennis”, and “Electro-Magnetic Golf” Huxley 29, 44, 56. The reason why only these complicated games are allowed is because the government is trying to promote its exaggerated capitalism Huxley 22. More parts lead to more labor, which leads to more jobs; all of this keeps the economy rolling. In addition to games, people can visit the feelies, which are incredibly high technology movie theaters.
In the theater, each person places their hand on a metal knob, which allows them to feel the physical sensations that the actors are experiencing Huxley 34. Also, other forms of entertainment include the scent organ, which combines music with pleasant smells; the synthetic music boxes, and the colour organs, which combine music with a light show Huxley 70. Transportation in the World State is also very technologically advanced. Most people travel around town in helicopters, taxicopters, or sporticopters Huxley 29, 203.
The lower caste civilians travel around in monorails Huxley 73, and global travel is done in a rocket plane, which is color-coded according to where it is headed Huxley 58. There are a few remaining ways in which advanced technology is used in society. First, most of the clothing worn by individuals is composed of high-tech materials, such as acetate or viscose Huxley 50. Also, most of the buildings are skyscrapers, made of materials including vitra-glass, and ferroconcrete. Men shave with electrolytic razors, and sex-hormone chewing gum dominates the market Huxley 60.
When a citizen comes home from a hard day’s work, they can use one of the many vibro-vacuum massagers to relax Huxley 53; and if this doesn’t quite do the trick, they can take a few grams of soma to send them into a dreamland. The purpose of most of this technology is to keep the citizens in a state of sublime happiness, and it certainly works. The technological situation in George Orwell’s 1984 is almost the exact opposite as it is in Huxley’s novel. In this society, technology is used for only two things: surveillance, and weaponry Orwell 71-72.
Big Brother’s use of telescreens is one of the main ways that technology is put into use. Telescreens are two way televisions, through which the government can monitor its subjects. They are on twenty-four hours a day, in homes and in public places. It is impossible for citizens to turn them off, and they are constantly spouting off pro-party propaganda. They are also used to ensure that a citizen is doing their duty at all times. If a person gets lazy and takes a rest from their work, a voice from the telescreen will order them to get back to it. Aside from telescreens, there are a few other areas in which technology is used.
For example, Winston uses a speech-recognizing typewriter when he works at the Ministry of Truth Orwell 34. Also, there are novel writing machines, which compose volumes full of propaganda Orwell 12. Since capturing rebels is one of the main concerns of the government, a lot of the government’s technology is channeled towards finding new methods of interrogation, and new ways to detect thought criminal. There are almost no technological advancements made in any other field, because only technology that suits the needs and purposes of Big Brother is fit to be used.
In Fahrenheit 451, most of the society’s technological efforts are directed toward the media, and finding new ways of distracting the citizens. In this society, the minds of citizens are constantly flooded with visual and auditory stimulus, which numbs them to what is important. There are many technological advancements that play a part in this, including giant television screens. In most homes, there are two or more walls that are covered by an enormous television screen. These televisions are almost always on, and the shows that they play are loud, and have no meaningful plot at all. It’ll be even more fun when we can afford to have the fourth wall installed. How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollarsâ€¦If we had a fourth wall, why it’d be just like this room wasn’t ours at all, but all kinds of exotic people’s rooms.
We could do without a few things” Bradbury 20-21. The thing that is strangest about the televisions is that the programs that are shown mean absolutely nothing. Even the viewers themselves have no idea what the shows are about. The only thing that matter is that they are entertaining, and that they distract the mind. What was on? ‘ ‘Programs. ‘ ‘What programs? ‘ ‘Some of the best ever. ‘ ‘Who? ‘ ‘Oh, you know, the bunch. ” Bradbury 49. As is evident from this dialogue between Guy and Mildred, she spends her whole day watching these programs, yet is unable to tell him what they were about, or who was in them. Along with television walls, seashell radios are another technological advancement that preoccupy people’s minds. Seashell radios are small radios that are inserted into the ear; they are turned on during any time span when other distraction is unavailable.
Guy Montag’s wife, Mildred, always has these little devices in her ears, which makes him incapable of carrying on conversation with her. Lastly, technology has allowed the government to create something that is called the mechanical hound. The purpose of this animal is to accompany the firemen to their calls, and aid them with their work. “The mechanical hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the firehouseâ€¦The animals were turned loose.
Three seconds later the game was done, the rat, cat, or chicken caught half across the areaway, gripped by gentling paws while a four-inch hollow steel needle plunged down from the proboscis of the Hound to inject massive jolts of morphine or procaine” Bradbury 24-25. This hound is a frightening creature, and demonstrates how technology is used in this society to invoke fear in all those that oppose the censorship policies of government. One of the most prominent characteristics of a dystopian society is the government’s use of brainwashing.
Brainwashing is “the application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation” dictionary. This means of persuasion is seen heavily in all three novels. In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, the citizens are brainwashed from birth through the use of hyponopÃ¦dia. HypnopÃ¦dia is the repetition of certain words or catch phrases over a long period of time. As the children are sleeping, little speakers in their beds emit these phrases hundreds of times per night, for many years wikipedia.
Some of these phrases include “ending is better than mending”, “the more stitches, the less riches”, and “everyone belongs to everyone else” Huxley 39. Each of these phrases helps to indoctrinate a belief of the government. The first two make the citizens believe that if something is broken or torn, it is much better to simply throw it away, rather than mend it. This promotes the exaggerated capitalism of the World State, and keeps the economy strong and stable. The last phrase promotes the idea that everyone is the same, and there is no individual identity.
This idea gets rid of all forms of jealousy, envy, anger, and love. Since everyone belongs to everyone else, there are no strong feelings between individuals. Also, in order to keep its citizens in a sublimely happy state at all times, the government distributes soma, a hallucinogen, which will cause a person to slip away into a dreamland. The citizens take soma on a daily basis if they are upset in any way “you do look glum! What you need is a gramme of soma”Huxley 54. Soma supposedly has “all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects” Huxley 54.
Basically, soma is meant to lift up a person to a state of well-being, but it has no side effects. Even as children, the citizens of the World State are conditioned to just pop in a soma anytime they are feeling a tiny bit upset. The hypnopÃ¦dic phrase that is used for this is: “A gramme is better than a damn” Huxley 54. One good example of how soma is used in this society is when Lenina, one of the main characters, visited the savage reservation. She was so upset by the horrors of what she saw there, that she decided to go on a soma holiday.
When she got back to her room, she swallowed a large amount of soma, in hopes of finding relief “As soon as they got back to the rest-house, she swallowed six half-gramme tablets of soma, lay down on her bed, and within ten minutes had embarked for lunar eternity. It would be eighteen hours at the least before she was in time again” somaquotes. The citizens use soma as an escape from anything unpleasant that could occur in their lives. The government uses it to keep the citizens happy, and happiness means stability, which is the ultimate goal Huxley 53.
For the governing body in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, the main goal is for every citizen to love and be completely devoted to Big Brother. To accomplish this, the government makes use of various forms of brainwashing. The Ministry of Truth is in charge of distributing literature in favor of the party Orwell 39. In fact, all literature that is available in society comes from the government; so, all written words speak in favor of Big Brother. For example, the Ministry of Truth is in charge of managing history. This would seen odd because history should be somewhat fixed.
History happened, and it is impossible to change things of the past. This is true in a normal society; however, in the world of 1984, history changes almost daily. History is what Big Brother says it is, and nothing more. If what the history books say does not concur with the teachings of the government, it will be rewritten Orwell 40. Government has control of everything, all the way down to the history of the world. Due to Big Brother’s ultimate control over the historical record, citizens must doubt their own knowledge.
If a citizen knows that they were born in the year 1975, but Big brother says that they were born only 3 years ago, that is truth; and all newspapers, history books, and birth records will be written to support Big Brother’s version of the truth. Therefore, the person is only three years old, regardless of what they think they know or remember Orwell 10. This brings into question the place from which truth is drawn. In this novel, truth is drawn from the government, not from experiences and memories of individuals. The Ministry of truth also functions in distributing other forms of brainwashing.
It distributes all of the newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programs, plays, novels, instructions, and entertainment that are to be found in society Orwell 39. Every word that can be read by a citizen comes from Big Brother’s mouth to the people through the Ministry of Truth. If there is nothing in opposition to these ideas, there is nothing else to believe. Also, the Ministry will make up historical figures that support the party, even if these people never existed Orwell 42. Since the government is the ultimate source of truth, there is no reason for citizens to question whether or not these people existed.
The last form of brain washing that the government in the novel uses is called the Two Minutes’ Hate. This is a daily occurrence, during which the citizens are shown a video depicting the party’s greatest enemy, Emmanuel Goldstein. During this video, the observers are worked up into a complete frenzy. They often thrown things at the telescreen, scream, yell, jump around, and hiss at the characters on screen Orwell 13-16. This ritual is so convincing that even when Winston Smith is determined not to participate, he still gets sucked into the frenzy of hatred.
This daily practice is even extended into a weeklong festival, called Hate Week Orwell 5. These things force the citizens to adopt a deep hatred for enemies of the party, and a great love for Big Brother. The citizens in the futuristic world of Fahrenheit 451 are brainwashed by the massive amounts of media that they are exposed to, and they are brainwashed to believe that books hold no real value. Since citizens in this society are constantly absorbed in media and television, the government uses this as a means of imparting its beliefs.
The government wishes to keep people distracted, so it shows programs that are heavy in visual and auditory stimulus. These stimuli keep the people totally engrossed in what is going on in their television screens, so that they do not know or care about what is going on in the world. This is desirable by the government because throughout the novel it is trying to cover up a huge war that threatens to destroy the world. Also, the people have been persuaded that books are not necessary. Books have been replaced by the government, and sex magazines and comics remain in their place.
To further this aversion to books, the government set up the firemen, whose job it is to enforce the laws against books. People have come to believe that life should be lived fast, books are irrelevant, and the television is “family”. If a government exerts too much control over those whom it rules, rebellion will naturally occur. There is no possible way for a government to persuade, even brainwash, every individual into believing its ideology. There will always be someone that does not conform, goes against the norm, and discovers the truth. Bernard Marx is the first rebel that is seen in Brave New World.
He tries desperately to conform to this hedonistic society, but unfortunately he can not. Bernard is set apart from his peers by the fact that he is very short. His friends decided that his shortness is due to alcohol being inserted into his blood surrogate by mistake Huxley 46. His lack of height separates him from the other Alpha-plus’s and he even has to yell at Epsilons to get his orders obeyed. Other characteristics that set him apart are his dislike of the feelies, soma, and his lack of promiscuity wikipedia. Bernard feels a great amount of jealousy for his sexual “rivals”, even though this type of feeling is not supposed to occur.
Bernard seems to be more of a human, as opposed to his robotic peers who are walking, talking extensions of the government. Bernard is a rebel because he doesn’t fit in with his counterparts due to his size. He also dislikes the normal, everyday things of society, and he experiences thoughts and emotions that he should have been conditioned not to feel. He is an anomaly in this “perfect” society. The next rebel is named Lenina Crowne; she works at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center. Lenina demonstrates several behaviors that are not what is considered normal.
For example, she dates one man exclusively for nearly two months straight Huxley 39. This is extremely unconventional, because she was conditioned to be very sexually promiscuous. Also, she sleeps with Bernard Marx, who is not a very handsome or well-liked man Huxley 58. Lastly, she develops a great liking for John the Savage, almost to the point of being in love with him Huxley 191. She does not understand these feelings, so she tries to act upon them in the only way she knows how to, through sex. Unfortunately, John is appalled by her behavior and treats her violently wikipedia.
The last rebel from this novel is named John, or John the Savage. John lived with his mother, Linda on an Indian reservation. John is mocked there because of his fair skin, and because his mother is very promiscuous Huxley 125. When Lenina and Bernard visit the reservation, they bring John back with them. He is very popular amongst the World State citizens. However, he does not fit in with their world. He has been conditioned by the works of Shakespeare, and desires pain, love, and sin Huxley 132. He cannot find any of these things in the World State, and he is disgusted by their promiscuity and use of things like soma.
He eventually isolates himself and performs regular self-purging rituals. He is eventually commits suicide, beaten by the brave new world. “Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, eastâ€¦” Huxley 267. John was a true outcast, denied both in his Indian tribe, and in the World State. The rebels in Orwell’s novel, 1984, are more conscious about their acts of rebellion.
Winston Smith is a man who works in the Ministry of Truth. His work there leads to a preoccupation with the real truth Orwell 68-69. He begins to question Big Brother’s policy. At the ministry of truth, he meets a young woman named Julia, a mechanic. They begin to have an illicit sexual relationship, meeting in the country, and other secluded places Orwell 100. As this goes on, Winston continues to grow in his questioning of Big Brother, and the English Socialism that is in place. He and Julia see their relationship as a way to rebel against the Party, and they are eventually arrested by the Thought Police.
They are each questioned separately in the Ministry of Love, and Winston is tortured numerous times Orwell 186. His captors are seeking to change Winston’s very thoughts, and they are successful in bringing Winston back to loving Big Brother. In this case, the overpowering, and ever-present government was able to suppress rebellion. In Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, there are five major rebellious characters. The first that is seen is a seventeen year old girl named Clarisse. Clarisse meets the main character, Guy Montag, outside on the street near their homes.
She immediately comes off as strange and mature for her age. Clarisse has a deep appreciation for nature and people. She is one of the only characters that is not caught up in the fast paced society. “They want to know what I do with my time. I tell them that sometimes I just sit and think. But I won’t tell them what. I’ve got them running. And sometimes, I tell them, I like to put my head back, like this, and let the rain fall in my mouth. It tastes just like wine. Have you ever tried it? ” Bradbury 23. Clarisse introduces Guy to nature and thought.
She grabs him by the arm and slows him down. He begins to have a deep appreciation for her, and for her original way of thinking, although he still finds it strange. Unfortunately, Clarisse is killed in a high-speed car accident. This is ironic, because she talked frequently of how fast cars went, and how they never slowed down to see anything. After the death of Clarisse, Guy becomes increasingly interested in what exactly books have to say. This interest was sparked by a special call he got at the fire station. They got a call to go to an old woman’s home and burn her books.
When they got there, she refused to exit the house, and ended up lighting her home on fire with herself in it. Guy decided that there must be something in books if an old woman is willing to be burned with them, rather than having them be burned for her. “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing” Bradbury 51. This woman’s act of rebellion drove Guy to find out what merit there was in books. Eventually, he met Faber, a retired English professor.
Faber deeply loved books, yet was too afraid of the consequences to rebel. Towards the latter end of the story, Guy Montag ended up on the run from the hound. He came across a group of people, led by a man named Granger, who memorize entire texts as a way to preserve literature. Guy joined them, and they continue in their act of rebellion, preserving the written word. Dystopian societies are a world in which no human would ever want to live. They are dysfunctional societies, in which person rights and freedoms are sacrificed to further the government, and its goals.
The governments are always very powerful, and exert complete control over the lives of its subjects. People are usually divided up into social classes, and they have no control over them. This warped view of life leads to the development of skewed relationships between people, and a skewed sense of identity. People do not see themselves as humans, but as possessions, or government drones. The government censors written literature, television, plays and the like, and replaces them with their own, promoting their own goals. Technology, which is capable of making a country a superpower, instead helps to make the government a superpower.
Technology is used to invade people’s space, thoughts, and privacy; it strips the individual out of every natural human right. The government also implements brainwashing, to ensure that all citizens believe what the government believes. Brainwashing takes away individual thought, and makes each person an extension of the government. However, despite all this, there are always a few individuals who rise up and challenge the authority. Sometimes this rebellion is intended, sometimes its not, and unfortunately it is rarely ever successful.
Each of the above traits can be seen heavily in the three most famous dystopian novels of all time; Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley, 1984 written by George Orwell, and Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury. All of these authors are presenting a warning, by showing the direction in which the world is heading. Every piece of literature has a purpose. Perhaps the purpose of dystopian fiction is to keep the world from making a horrible mistake, and paying the ultimate price in the sacrificing of human right in return for power.