Utopian Literature Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

Utopian Literature

The history of western civilization has been the story of the class struggle.1 In opposition to the class struggle, many have offered to restrict or even totally eliminate class distinctions and replace them with the panacea of utopia. Utopia was made popular by the theologian and philosopher, Thomas More. Whereas Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto and others preached the idea of a utopian society, several individuals crafted timeless works of literature to elucidate --or in most cases dispute-- the ideals of any type of utopia. Of the vast number of works that reference, condone, or refute utopian ideals, several have been fairly recent and very relevant to our lives. For example, Aldous Huxley wrote his Brave New World in 1932, a book which depicts the dehumanizing factor associated with utopian culture. George Orwell, the infamous lexicographer of satire, published many works in the same era as Huxley, including Animal Farmand 1984. The former is a satire aimed at defaming communism.2 The latter is a warning against superpowers and abuses of scientific technology. Most recently, Lois Lowry crafted her riveting book The Giver. The Giver concentrates on refuting a society where everything from professions to climate is controlled. Marx clearly indicates that a revolution resulting in a classless society is inevitable, but many of his points can be seen as valid. These four authors argue that any sort of utopianism from socialism to big government will only result in corruption and loss of originality. In these "perfect" societies, the people are bereft of their faith and reasoning is nonexistent. All aspects of life become predetermined and unfeeling, and basic human feelings are compromised. The four selected works of fiction quell the suggestions of a perfect culture. Furthermore, they suggest that life as we know it with many faiths and individual reasoning (which do not have to contradict one another) is the best alternative even with all of its imperfections.3

Communist Manifesto

After the Communists had taken Russia in 1917 and 1918 and became a fledged force in surrounding nations to form the USSR, Aldous Huxley wrote his novel Brave New World depicting a utopian society based on technology. The reader quickly picks up on the New World's quagmire of erroneous dehumanization.4 The society living in Huxley's New World has no mothers or fathers, rather everyone is conceived in test tubes and raised by the government. Although this may be excessive, the notion of the government taking control of the basic beginnings of life is not out of the picture. The controlled birth of humans results in a uniform race, but the class distinctions remain. Due to the lack of reproduction among humans, people begin having sex purely for pleasure ending in the absence of spirituality and family.5 Both are essential for strong faith and justified reason. The population uses (or better yet abuses) the drug soma, which more or...

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