Dystopian Literature: A Breakdown of the Breakdowns

So yeah, talked a little bit about all of these novels. I would write up something comparing the three, but I’d go on for over 1,000 words to do the subject justice, and in Internet length that’s like the 2009 Tax Code. So here’s a seat-of-the-pants interpretation of the trio:

The citizens are reduced to stupid…

Brave New World: Infants

Anthem: Wimps

1984: Beasts

The society is held together mainly by…

BNW: Satisfaction

Anthem: Selflessness

1984: Fear

Role of science and technology?

BNW: Paramount: progress=”happiness”

Anthem: Villified: it encourages independent thought.

1984: Useful, but only as a means of control and war

Role of religion?

BNW: If you count the Ford worship, it’s everywhere; otherwise unheard of.

Anthem: With a communal morass like this, who needs it?

1984: It will get you killed.

Role of sex?

BNW: Populace oversexed as a means of pacification

Anthem: Strictly for procreation, otherwise banned: it’s a “Transgression of Preference”

1984: Also strictly for procreation; Party members are repressed to increase nationalistic furor.

Best hope for bringing down regime:

BNW: God and fine art

Anthem: Why bother? Just go live somewhere else.

1984: The proles


BNW: In a messed up way

Anthem: At times

1984: If you’re messed up


BNW: Creepy as hell

Anthem: Would be if it could be taken more seriously

1984: Scary as hell

Heroism of story’s main protagonist (1-10):

BNW: 8

Anthem: 10

1984: 3

How regime deals with dissenters:

BNW: We’re sending you to an island, you weirdo.

Anthem: We’re making you a laborer and flogging you when you act up, you insolent.

1984: We’re kidnapping you, torturing you, brainwashing you, toying with you, and then murdering you, you worthless dust mite.

Most frightening society: 1984

Toughest society to change: Brave New World

Most relevant to present day: Brave New World

Best novel: 1984

I do suppose not everyone’s list will match this exactly so leave a comment with a breakdown or two of yours that differ from mine, if you like. And if there are any of these books you’ve yet to read, I say go for it: none are terribly long and chances are, one of these classics is going to become very important to you.


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