Women and Gender Studies
Creative Project: Blog Post
Background on Utopia vs Dystopia:
A utopia is a perfect world. In utopias, there aren’t problems like war, disease, poverty, oppression, discrimination, inequality, and so forth. The word ”utopia” was made up from Greek roots by Sir Thomas More. In 1516, More wrote a book called Utopia. Depending on the Greek roots used, utopia can either mean ”no place” or ”good place.” A dystopia, on the other hand, is a world in which nothing is perfect. The problems that plague our world are often even more extreme in dystopias. Dystopia is a play on the made-up word ”utopia” using the prefix ”dys,” which means ”bad” or ”difficult.” Words like ”dysfunctional” or ”dyslexia” illustrate the use of this prefix. The history of utopian and dystopian literature go hand in hand because I suppose all things do come into being through opposition because it is through the dystopian literature that you hope for a utopian world and vice versa. Both utopias and dystopias share characteristics of science fiction and fantasy, and both are usually set in a future in which technology has been used to create perfect living conditions. However, once the setting of a utopian or dystopian novel has been established, the focus of the novel is usually not on the technology itself but rather on the psychology and emotions of the characters who live under such conditions. Although the word utopia was coined in 1516 by Sir Thomas More when he wrote Utopia, writers have written about utopias for centuries, including the biblical Garden of Eden in Genesis and Plato’s Republic, about a perfect state ruled by philosopher-kings. More’s Utopia protested contemporary English life by describing an ideal political state in a land called Utopia, or Nowhere Land. The idea of utopias continued to be popular during the nineteenth century. Dystopias are a way in which authors share their concerns about society and humanity. They also serve to warn members of a society to pay attention to the society in which they live and to be aware of how things can go from bad to worse without anyone realizing what has happened. For examples, fictional dystopias such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Ray Bradbury’ Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1944) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), as well as Susan Collins’ The Hunger Games. Utopia’s are manifestations of what people really want the world to be like, an ideal world, while dystopias are the shrewd worlds filled with injustice.