“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life” said Fernando Pessoa, During the twentieth century dystopian literature was born out of the utopian literature of the early 1900’s as a means for people to “escape” the world they lived in and enter a somewhat perfect world. Literary pieces such as Brave New World by Aldous Huxley addressed an audience that an audience primarily comprised of adults that have a more definitive connection to the present societal conditions. However, a recent dystopian literature novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry, targets a different audience, young adults. Lowry’s choice to target a different audience than typical dystopian literature does such as Brave New World affects the stylistic choices used to achieve the central theme of the novel. Lowry’s The Giver and Huxley’s Brave New World both contain similar contextual themes of dystopian literature; however, given the difference in audiences, different literary devices are implemented such as allusions, imagery, and irony.
In its entirety, dystopian literature can be defined as the “important means by which any culture can investigate new ways of defining itself and of exploring alternatives to the social and political status quo” (Booker 3). Dystopian literature, like all literature, is utilized to expand the mind and transpose these thoughts onto a means in which other people, the audience, can read and potentially connect with at a certain level. Historically, dystopian literature has progressed throughout the times through the occurrences of certain societal conditions that prompt the author to write about. Contextually, the motive of dystopian literature and the means in which the author conveys his or her motive seems to contain cognate features, regardless of the intended audience as evidence in Brave New World and The Giver.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the increase of technological and scientific development brought to light an idea of utopianism. The effects of technological and scientific development during the nineteenth century on dystopian literature were indirect in the sense that it promoted the idea of utopianism. This idea of utopianism would eventually be the catalyze that promotes dystopian literature becoming an “important and identifiable cultural force” (Booker 5). The technological and scientific discoveries that were taking place during the times were focused on “the limitations on the ability of humanity to dominate its environment”(Booker 6) to quintessentially have an ideal utopian society. Charles Darwin’s discoveries in genetics, development of concepts such as natural selection, and introducing terms such as “survival of the fittest” all brought upon the idea of creating an ideal society. These concepts would later on develop onto other concepts such as Social Darwinism, which is the more direct instigator of the rise of utopian literature and then by cause dystopian literature.
To understand dystopian literature in...