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Dystopian Narratives and Heros. In Fiction, and In Fact. Definition of a Dystopian Society (notes). An imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through totalitarian control.

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dystopian narratives and heros

Dystopian Narratives and Heros

In Fiction, and In Fact

definition of a dystopian society notes
Definition of a Dystopian Society (notes)
  • An imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through totalitarian control.
  • Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system.
  • Cautionary Tales
characteristics often found in a dystopian society notes
Characteristics Often Found in a Dystopian Society (notes)
  • Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.
  • Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted.
  • A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society.
  • Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance.
  • Citizens have a fear of the outside world.
  • Citizens live in a dehumanized state.
  • The natural world is banished and/or distrusted.
  • Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are bad.
  • The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world.
a dystopia narrative notes
a Dystopia Narrative (notes)
  • Back Story – A fictional universe that must be told which provides an event in which society changes, often bringing totalitarian control
  • Hero – Usually a character within that society that finds some fault; however, he/she can be from outside the society, yet they receive no assistance from the dystopian society
  • Conflict – The hero’s conflict comes before a representative/figure of the dystopia; usually there is a society outside of the dystopia that the hero put his/her hope in
  • Climax/Denouement – The goal is to escape or destroy the dystopia, yet often the narrative is unresolved; sometimes, the hero is unable to change the society or conforms to the society
dystopias in fiction
Dystopias in Fiction
  • 1984
  • Harrison Bergeron
  • Lord of the Flies (even though it isn’t sci-fi)
  • Escape from New York/LA
  • The Matrix Movies
  • Minority Report
  • V for Vendetta
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera
dystopias in the real world

Dystopias in the Real World?

The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRNK)

north korea
North Korea
  • A single-party state – Korean Workers’ Party
  • Kim-Il Sung – “Eternal President”
    • Ruled DPRNK from 1948-1993
      • In the same period of time, the US had 9 different presidents!
    • Designated by the country’s constitution as “Eternal President” after his death in ‘94
  • Kim Jong-Il
    • Son of Sung
    • Basically Sung’s successor (although technically Sung is STILL president)
  • Kim Jong-Un
    • Heir presumptive of DPRNK and son of Kim Jong-Il
    • (means that if Jong-Il dies or decides to step down, he’s the man)
  • Juche – Philosophy of Communist Self-Sufficiency
    • Sung’s version of INGSOC
  • In reality, NK Economy was reliant on trade with USSR
    • When USSR collapsed, disaster for NK economy/industry
    • This, in combination with heavy drought, led to massive starvation in the 90’s
    • Over 2 million people starved to death.
    • NK has not yet recovered from this. However they (Jong-Il) requested food aid stop in 2001.
human rights
Human rights
  • Access to information
    • Lots of news sources, all owned by the state
    • No access to foreign news
    • Internet? INTRAnet!
      • Kwangmyong: domestic news, an e-mail service and censored information from foreign websites (mostly scientific)
  • Police State
    • Secret prisons, torture, medical experiments, rape, etc., according to defectors
    • Estimated 150,000 – 200,000 inmates
cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public imageCult of Personality