Anthem and other Dystopian Novels
A government has always been the center point of society yet at times it is the main reason for the cause of a dystopian society. Imagine living in a society where being independent was not an option, freedom was stripped from your hands, and disobeying the government would result in punishment. A society where personal thought would be forbidden and social status would be pre-arranged with no chance of it being altered make a Dystopian Society.
These descriptions of a Dystopian Society have all been realities in novels such as Tempest, Brave New World, 1984, and Anthem. Characters in these novels were brainwashed to conform to their governments since the population was too scared to confront their own overpowering government. Furthermore, citizens lived in a society were minimal rights were nonexistent, with homelessness, chaos, and racism. Although you may see many of these aspects in other dystopian novels, many elements are still left out.
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As I look through articles and other sources one can see the difference that in these novels Dystopian Societies only exist due to an overpowering government. In the works, many of these governments overused their power by constantly putting surveillance on their citizens and forcing citizens to conform to their society. Citizens are constantly being watched, listened to, traced, and investigated, making it almost impossible for them to do anything in secret. In the novel, 1984, their government is so strong since they have leverage over the population.
For Instance, in 1984, telescreens were installed in every person’s house which constantly had to be on, so it could listen to every conversation you had. People who lived in the 1984 society were scared of communicating in their own house as it said in the book “ He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them”(Orwell 31), this explains that the constant surveillance frightened citizens so bad that they decided to shut their mouth and do whatever the government asked.
In a book called Stopping The Spies, that talk about the overuse of surveillance in Africa stated “ Given the powerful forces at work in promoting the expansion of surveillance are going to have a tough fight on their hands” (Duncan 23), it explains how the government in Africa is misusing its surveillance system and no one can stop it from happening just like in the novel. In another novel Anthem, everyone is forced into believing that being collective is the only way you can survive. If the government finds out that you were ever doing something alone, you would be punished and even vanished from existence as stated in the novel, “The laws say that none among men may be alone, ever and at any time, this is the great transgression and the root of all evil ” (Rand 20).
Furthermore, the government also controls what people read since they are scared that with too much knowledge for people could become a threat to them, hence equality discovering the light bulb. In Brave New World the government used their power to a whole other extent as they programmed there population using stem cell division making them act like robots. It seems as if the government only wants to preserve itself, lacking sympathy for the people. By controlling how they think it automatically shows that people have no freedom whatsoever as they are literally controlled by the government. Lastly, in the novel Tempest the central government revolves around the character Prospero who practically controls the whole island.
Prospero relates to a government that has high surveillance because in the novel Ariel who is one of his slaves watches everything that happens on the island. Aerial symbolizes the constant surveillance because during the novel she caught Antonio, Sebastian, and Alonso betraying Prospero which shows how everything you do is being watched on the Island. Overall having a government that’s constantly watching over your back and forcing you to do what they want are just some qualities that make up a dystopian Society. Another common theme found in these works is that there is always a totalitarian government that restricts individuality and Freedom. In Brave New World the motto Community, Stability, and Identity is the structure of their government.
Community being one of the structures of the government relates to how they promote collectivism and how it has always been implemented in there life since the time they were born. An article called The Dangers of Collectivism stated how “ Collectivism is a poison. I have been appalled to see so many of my friends, both on the left and the right, indulging in it” (Hunter 5). This quote in the article explains how people who are exposed to collectivism due to an oppressed government tend to never escape which is one of the reasons why Dystopias live forever. In 1984, the author made sure to display the effects of dominant control in totalitarian governments. I can also see that the Author of 1984 George Orwell wanted to use the character Winston to distribute his experiences on how a totalitarian government will lead to the elimination of freedom.
The government also known as The Party manipulates the population using there lies saying that without them they wouldn’t be able to survive. By implying fear to the population and openly telling them that spies were hidden everywhere, forced them to conform giving them no freedom to act as they want. Just like in the novel 1984, Anthem had many of these qualities since the word “I” was never used and they encouraged everyone to speak with the term “We” as if they were part of each other. If the government were to find you alone they would immediately execute you without any trace. This just proves how an overly powered government can use its abilities for the wrong and cause their people to live miserable lives. In the last novel Tempest, Prospero uses his power to keep his daughter Miranda safe but unknowingly gives her no chance of living her life.
For instance, in the novel, the prince and Miranda developed a love connection but was quickly broken up when Prospero found out. To conclude, totalitarian governments and their usage of unjust rules are other huge factors that lead to a Dystopian Society. The last characteristic of an overpowered government is how it implements much fear into its populations, so they ensure that they conform to their wants, therefore, making their lives miserable. In the novel 1984 the telescreen is the main source of fear since they know that the party is constantly watching.
This technique is used so that it is guaranteed that everyone does whatever they want with no questions asked. In an article named Fear and Social Control explains how “While some of these imagined fears are of one’s own making, many are the consequence of narratives created by those in positions of power. Individuals looking to take advantage of, and manipulate others, have long realized the power of fear” (Greene 20). This quote from the novel proves that although many people develop their own fears, the one with the most power like governments usually those fears for their own gain.
Another novel that faced implements of fear is Brave New World, the government also known as the world state used individuality as fear and explained how you must work within a group or else you will not survive in their society. The government also made sure to publicly announce what would happen if they were ever caught showing emotion or having any individual thought. By publicly announcing their regulations it automatically scares the people who live on the society making their lives constantly in despair.
In the next novel Tempest, Prospero is the central government and power hungry tortures his slave Caliban to show his dominance over him. By subjugating Caliban it gave him no option but to do whatever he was asked as it was also stated in another novel The Meaning of Torture written by a Yale Professor named Paul Kenny that spoke about how “torture is defined as the systematic and deliberate inñiction of severe pain or suffering on a person over whom the actor has physical control, in order to induce a behavioral response from that person” (Kenny 2).
This quote proves Prospero’s purpose of torture explaining how it was the only way for him to conform. Lastly in the novel Anthem, Fear was the government’s most prized possession as they knew that people constantly feared anything that would harm them which is why much of their society is dehumanized as stated by Equality “There is fear hanging in the air of the sleeping halls, and in the air of the streets. Fear walks through the City, fear without name, without shape. All men feel it an none dare to speak” (Rand 46). Last but not least all of these works explained how fear can be overpowering when put in the wrong hands.