Transcript Dystopias are a futuristic, imagined universe which enforce oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological and moral control, such as in the text ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamyatin and ‘2081’ by Chandler Tuttle. Often we see in these societies the ways that humanity can be repressed, losing one’s individuality and also the ways a hero rises to challenge the Dystopia’s laws, only to fail and become a victim to the dystopia, all being common conventions of dystopic texts from which we can learn about our own societies’ flaws.
After the long campaigns of One State, the world and all its citizens are under the control of this totalitarian society. Through D-503’s journal we see that all humans suffer from a loss of individuality and emotion most particularly from the conformist nature of the society where regimentation and oppressive control has rid of the population of freedom and imagination, key factors in a human’s individuality.
The starting statement of “What I think-or, to be more exact what we think,” immediately when the novel begins, showcases the conformist nature of One State, tying in with the suppression of humane aspects, extrapolated by the motif, the table of hours which is One State’s main instrument in controlling the population. This subjugation of citizens and further oppression is also seen in ‘2081,’ where the more extraordinary of the population being handicapped to allow fair living.
The constant display of the effects of added weights and shock devices linked to those who think too much show to us just how repressed everyone is in the society. Multiple close shots of Harrison Bergeron while he produced his speech about the flaws in their society illuminate to us the oppression and the dark nature of the society while he was dressed in many handicaps. “They had hoped to destroy in me, any trace of the extraordinary. Harrison’s parents also demonstrate this oppression by the quick cuts to fragmented memories which are consequentially destroyed by handicaps and how the only ones without handicaps are the unintelligent, evident by Harrison’s mother and the stuttering news reporter, revealing how degraded the dystopia has caused the human population. As in most dystopic fiction, there is a protagonist which rises against the society’s laws and then becomes a victim. This is seen in the changes that occur to D-503 in ‘We. ‘ Throughout the beginning f the novel, D-503 constantly praises the “mathematically perfect” system of One State, evident in the constant inclusion of mathematics in his speech. “Irrational numbers… I don’t want root – 1. ” he says as he displays the effect of this conformist society and how the propaganda around has affected him. This comes to change after being introduced to emotion and imagination by I 330, developing a ‘soul’. However, this causes his downfall as he is then subjected to the great operation, which had permanently taken away his free will and imagination, evident by his sudden indifferent attitude to I-330.
From this we can see how the convention of the hero becoming a victim to his/her dystopic society. Similarly, Harrison in ‘2081’ undergoes similar events as the film progresses. He creates a performance revealing what the un-handicapped extraordinary can achieve, revealing what the dystopic society was hiding all while diegetic sound is played, highlighting the importance of his actions which continue onward to past his death at the hands of various security officers, becoming a victim to the regime despite fighting against it.
Both dystopic texts follow the various conventions and ideas seen in dystopian societies, outlining to us multiple flaws in the human society and flaws we can create. As futuristic settings, these texts offer to us an understanding from which we can summarize that these dystopic texts are cautionary tales which we should learn from to create a brighter future. By Kevin Dai
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