dystopia n.
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DYSTOPIA. Utopia - is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system . The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia , describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. . Utopia (continued).

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Utopia - is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean.

utopia continued
Utopia (continued)
  • The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.
utopia continued1
Utopia (continued)


noun 1. an imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More's Utopia  (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.

2. ( usually lowercase ) an ideal place or state.

3. ( usually lowercase ) any visionary system of political or social perfection.

  • A dystopia is a fictional society, usually portrayed as existing in a future time, when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. Science fiction, particularly post-apocalyptic science fiction and cyberpunk, often feature dystopias.
post apocalyptic
  • apocalyptic
  • "pertaining to the 'Revelation of St. John' in the New Testament,"
  • Meaning "pertaining to the imminent end of the world"
  • of or like an apocalypse;  affording a revelation or prophecy.
  • 2. pertaining to the Apocalypse  or biblical book of Revelation.
  • 3. predicting or presaging imminent disaster and total or universal destruction: the apocalyptic vision of some contemporary writers.

Social critics also use the term "dystopian" to condemn trends in society they see as negative.

In most dystopian fiction, a corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often conditioning the masses to believe the society is proper and just, even perfect.

  • Most dystopian fiction takes place in the future but often purposely incorporates contemporary social trends taken to extremes.
  • Dystopias are frequently written as warnings, or as satires, showing current trends extrapolated to a nightmarish conclusion.
traits of dystopian societies
Traits of dystopian societies

1. a hierarchical society where divisions between the upper, middle and lower class are definitive and unbending (Caste system)

2. a nation-state ruled by an upper class with few democratic ideals

3. state propaganda programs and educational systems that coerce most citizens into worshipping the state and its government, in an attempt to convince them into thinking that life under the regime is good and just

4. strict conformity among citizens and the general assumption that dissent and individuality are bad

5. a fictional state figurehead that people worship fanatically through a vast personality cult, such as 1984’s Big Brother

traits continued
Traits (continued)

5. a fear or disgust of the world outside the state

6. a common view of traditional life, particularly organized religion, as primitive and nonsensical

7. a penal system that lacks due process laws and often employs psychological or physical torture

8. constant surveillance by state police agencies

9. the banishment of the natural world from daily life

traits continued1
Traits (continued)

10. a back story of a natural disaster, war, revolution, uprising, spike in overpopulation or some other climactic event which resulted in dramatic changes to society

11. low standard of living among the lower and middle class that is generally poorer than in contemporary society

12. a protagonist who questions the society, often feeling intrinsically that something is terribly wrong

  • Because dystopian literature takes place in the future, it often features technology more advanced than that of contemporary society.
  • To have an effect on the reader, dystopian fiction typically has one other trait: familiarity. It is not enough to show people living in a society that seems unpleasant. The society must have echoes of today, of the reader's own experience. If the reader can identify the patterns or trends that would lead to the dystopia, it becomes a more involving and effective experience.
  • Authors can use a dystopia effectively to highlight their own concerns about societal trends.