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Thread: Motives for writing dystopian novels

  1. #1

    Motives for writing dystopian novels

    Hello, just asking for a little assistance/ideas on the backgrounds and motives that inspired Huxley and Orwell to write Brave New World and 1984.

    What are the similarities in how the authors are critiquing society and also the differences in how they are critiquing society.


    My essay topic is "Good science fiction/dystopian texts challenge the way we see society. In exploring imaginary worlds, we explore our own."

    Obviously I am not searching for someone to do my essay for me but just wanted to spark a little bit of discussion for interest. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    You can read about the authors' background in encyclopedia entries.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Brett_Hunter3 View Post
    Hello, just asking for a little assistance/ideas on the backgrounds and motives that inspired Huxley and Orwell to write Brave New World and 1984.
    I'll tell you in the simplest possible way. They both read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_%28novel%29

  4. #4
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intuition View Post
    They both read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
    Or maybe they just all read Plato?

    ________________________________


    In terms of why they wrote them Orwell and Huxley wrote for quite different reasons, but you're more interested in the how than why.

    They both used fear, and fear of losing control - in Oceania by the threat of vaporisation, in Utopia by genetic modification, but the end result is the same; we live in fear of losing our own will. They present a similar view of the majority of mankind: best controlled to the extent of removing all independent thought, because those independent thoughts don't act for the good of the species/Party. (Seems about right to me!)

    The differences are in how they presented the ideas to their readership - Orwell using repulsiveness and Huxley beauty.

    Orwell's society despises sex, Huxley's revels in it; Orwell's ordinary Party members and proles have no outlet for appreciation of beauty, Huxley creates drug- and special effect-laden kaleidoscopes of fun to tickle the imagination. 1984 is designed to repel while BNW is designed to attract.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Brave New World is a novel on the possible misapplication of science in creating a dystopian society: forerunners are The Machine Stops, a short story by E M Forster, and The Island of Doctor Moreau by H G Wells.
    Orwell's motives were purely political, as he once wrote: "All of my writing has been in the cause of democratic socialism."
    "Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11th - malicious lies that attempt to shift blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty." George. W. Bush

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    Ebulliently Eclectic irinmisfit92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intuition View Post
    I'll tell you in the simplest possible way. They both read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_%28novel%29
    Whoa I checked it out and it looks really interesting. Thanks for introducing me to this novel I love dystopian novels.

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    Registered User Red-Headed's Avatar
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    There have been theories about how much British sci fi was originally often dystopian in nature, often in contrast to the, more often than not, optimistic American science fiction novels, particularly those written in the mid twentieth century. There has been a lot written about exactly why this was perceived to be. Usually the European-centred literature was concerned with loss of empire & uncertainty about the future or subtextual references to the world wars (or even impending world conflicts, depending on when they were written). U.S. sci fi was viewed as more frontier oriented. Either way, fiction tends to often reflect the thinking of the time it was written, & if not exactly in tune with the general Zeitgeist, sci fi can be an accurate barometer of thought.
    docendo discimus

  8. #8
    The motives for writing dystopian novels are basically Christian. There is nothing like a good end-of-the-world story to cheer the masses. What is human? The protagonist of every dystopia ever imagined.
    Last edited by G L Wilson; 08-05-2011 at 03:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G L Wilson View Post
    The motives for writing dystopian novels are basically Christian. There is nothing like a good end-of-the-world story to cheer the masses. What is human? The protagonist of every dystopia ever imagined.
    Yep, nothing like a good Dawn of gods to sheer the people.
    My blog about literature (in spanish): http://otrasbentilaciones.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    It's a pessimism thing - Utopian vision seeks to show how the world can be, and understand a reflection on ho to improve and understand, Dystopian vision tries to find the result of following negative trends in culture, and reflects the negative in society.

    Which is more powerful? It's a question of negative persuasion versus positive persuasion, but generally our society is preoccupied with its own disaster, thank the Bomb for that.

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