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Dystopia is an absolutely new trend in literature, art, and philosophy, arisen as a counterweight to the opposite genre of utopia. One of the most vivid and famous examples of dystopia is the novel 1984 written by George Orwell which depicts the society with developed totalitarian regime. Present paper will discuss a number of features that are peculiar for the genre of dystopia illustrated by the example of 1984.
Dystopia introduces the artworks and various doctrines that question the possibility of achieving of social ideals and criticize the images of "mechanized" future identified in a totalitarian state. Science and engineering are brought to perfection in this genre with the suppression of person’s freedom and individuality. The authors often use gray tones and special artistical devices to make the atmosphere in a book depressing and hopeless. For the main characters survival appears to be the issue of the ultimate importance. The only thing that remains for the person who lives in this world is to make every effort to cheat the system, find its weaknesses, get out of her shackles, and snatch happiness from the piece of gray everyday life. The novel 1984 is one of the most striking examples of dystopia. It opens the most characteristic features and shows the fate of the person who lives in such a world. 1984 can be interpreted as a symbol of a totalitarian society, for instance, the USSR. Author managed to depict the most realistic regime model in opposition to the communistic utopia proclaimed by Soviet leaders. On the other hand, Orwell satirizes not only the Soviet Union realias, but also the democratic society of the United States, where the bureaucracy is no less absurd.
Another feature of dystopia can be called a pseudo-carnival. The basis of the pseudo-carnival comprises absolute fear which helps the author to create a very special atmosphere called "anti-utopian world." The world of 1984 is driven by terror. The readers feel it from the first lines of the novel to the dismal outcome. Residents of Airstrip One are afaid to stroll too much, say too many words, even to have their own thoughts, because Big Brother is constantly watching them. Any disobedience to the system leads to a terrible punishment. Particularly, the brightest feeling of fear can be traced when the protagonist of the book starts to resist the system. He knows that his capture would mean only one thing - torture, interrogation, and, eventually, death. The protagonist of dystopia has been always eccentric living by the laws of attraction. The attraction is an effective way out of such a situation: extremeness creates the state of mind that allows a person to be stretched to the limit of their intellectual capabilities which a person did not even suspect themselves of.
Ritualization of life is another important element of dystopia. Society realized in dystopia can't be chaotic and run counter to the rules. In the novel 1984 ritual is a key pivot of the society. Rituals and regulations reign everywhere: at home, at work, in the street. Any resident of Airstrip One must do physical exercises every morning. All the people are required to attend the minutes of hate propaganda at work and watch videos in the street which are playing marches or ideological speeches. People who do not observe the rituals become the enemies of the system. The disobedient will definitely be punished as soon as the police notice any violation of rituals. Dystopia affects literally every sphere of one’s life, penetrating even into the intimate life of a person and subordinates it to its will. People a deprived of privacy, any expressions of emotion or affection between people are considered to abusing to the ideology and is therefore punishable. In Orwell's novel, this trend can be traced clearly. Winston Smith falls in love with Julia, but he could not possibly reveal his feelings to her, as such an act could cost him his life.
Dystopia society is a perfect mechanism that can't be destroyed. Any problems are eliminated in the blink of an eye. During the development of the storyline the author leads the readers to the fact that the world of Airstrip One is still not perfect and an insurrgency could be organized in order to undermine the system. Winston secretly meets with Julia. He found a friend in a government that promised to make every effort to lead people and overthrow a totalitarian regime. But it turned out that there was no rebel movement and it was an invention of the government which helped to identify the rebels. The official, who seemed to be Winston’s friend, follows the rigid ideology of the regime. Thus, all Smith's dreams are destroyed. He is separated from his beloved and his attempts to fight lead to nightmarish consequences.
In the novel, Orwell criticizes the scientific and technological progress by revealing its dark side, which is typical for dystopia. Society in 1984 is completely "mechanized". A resident of Airstrip One can't take a single step and go unnoticed. City, street, house, apartment strewn with "cameras" which record every movement of the citizen are designed to know every movement of a person. Any wrong word, gesture, emotion could result in Thought Police coming. The city teems with huge screens which are playing the propaganda videos. Large buildings compose enormous databases which store information on the account of every citizen or event. Anyone can be stamped out of existence within seconds. Military industry has captivated the world sinking in an endless war. This world is very similar to the US and the USSR during the Cold War, only in a more perfect edition. Complete suppression of personality is the basis of the country’s progress: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength” (Orwell 232).
In conclusion, the novel 1984 is a vivid example of dystopia. It depicts the possible model of society developing in a way that contradicts the basic human rights. Such features as mechanization of the society, pseudo-carnival, ritualization of life, technological progress are represented in the Orwell’s novel. The author also uses the elements of satire to deride the his contemporary society which is often on the verge of the turning into the anti-model which is embodied in the genre of dystopia.
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