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Dystopian Societies Characteristics
A Dystopia is a negative or undesirable society. • They are seen as dangerous and alienating future societies. • Are often a criticism of a current trend, societal norm, or political system in the real world.
Society: • Most Dystopian societies impose SEVERE social restrictions on community members. • Social stratification: social classes are strictly defined and enforced • Ruthless egalitarian: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs. • Repression on the intellectual: information, independent thought, and freedom of expression are restricted
Social Groups: • Total absence of social groups other than “state”. • Independent religion is often omitted. • Family is attacked: often parents are absent or there is hostility towards motherhood.
Nature: • Characters are isolated from the natural world • Conditioned to fear nature • Often there are fences built around the societies to “protect” them from the natural predators. • Why are the fences really there?
Political: • Government asserts power over citizens. • Always “flawed” in some way-usually portrayed as oppressive • Filled with pessimistic views of the ruling class-usually rules with an “iron fist” • The government often believes citizens cannot be trusted to make their own decisions
Control: • Corporate: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or media. • Bureaucratic: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy through a tangle of red tape, regulations, and incompetent government officials
Control: • Technological: society is controlled by technology. Computers, robots, and/ or scientific means. • Philosophical/ Religious: Society is controlled by philosophical or religious ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government.
Economics: • State or government is in control of the economy • Black market: usually present, selling items that have been banned by the government • Businesses are often government run or have some tie to the ruling body.
The Hero/ Heroine: • Protagonist often questions existing social and political systems • Feels hostility towards the government • Often cannot show true feelings outwardly • Motivation is often escape or rebellion • Most often protagonist is a “reluctant hero”. • The protagonist helps the audience recognize the negative aspects of his/her world through the protagonists perspective
Conflict: • There is often a group somewhere outside of society (or hidden within) NOT under control of the ruling body. • This group acts as a FOIL to the government, but is not always necessarily the “good guys”. • In fiction, a foil is a character who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight particular qualities of the other character. • In this case, the “character” is the government or ruling body.