This study explores the idea of governmental power in the dystopian works The Time Machine (H. G. Wells, 1895), We (Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1924), Brave New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932), Anthem (Ayn Rand, 1938), and Nineteen Eighty Four (George Orwell, 1948) in an attempt to contextualize these novels in history. This is done through identification of three major themes of government control: class divisions, reproductive freedom, and propaganda methods, all of which demonstrate control over the individual by the government. Each chapter consists of examples and evidence from the novels for the theme followed by a comparison of historical treatment of these issues during the lifetime of the author to understand how the dystopian genre was influenced by the author’s experiences. All of this comes together to show that dystopias are based on extreme versions of real issues that could be identified during the time period in which the author was writing.
McPherson, Lydia, "Big Brother is Watching You: A Historical Contextualization of Authoritative Power in Dystopian Literature" (2015). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6624.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2015 Lydia McPherson