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"Utopia is no place". How does the Utopian and dystopian fiction you have studied present the possibility of perfection.

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"Utopia is no place". How does the Utopian and dystopian fiction you have studied present the possibility of perfection. "It is the dream of a just society, which seems to haunt the human imagination ineradicably and in all ages"1. But "absolute purity, absolute justice, absolute logic and perfection are beyond human achievement"2. Composers such as More, Orwell, Huxley and Atwood use different avenues and techniques to explore this idea of perfection and its feasibility on earth with the human race. Utopian and dystopian fiction comprises a broad selection of texts; but in the narrowest definition any text in which the composer proposes an ideal or nightmarish world or society. The literary cannons of Utopian and Dystopian fiction include: Plato's Republic, Thomas More and his Utopia - responsible for both the generic name and genre creation; Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm; And Marget Atwoods's Hand Maid's Tale. Within each text composers use different presentations of the 'ideal' society to highlight the achievability and desirability of perfection. Utopia is a story, to be discovered only by trespassing onto an unknown voyage of exploration by Raphael Hythloday, More's fictional protagonist. ...read more.


1984 is "a utopia in the form of a novel"5 - meaning like More's its inception is at a fantastical 'no place'. Orwell's Eurasia began with a vision of "a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete"6 but quickly turned to a totalitarian nightmarish state where even the freedom to say, "two plus two make four" corroded by the Party, where "War is Peace" "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" Orwell presents a bleak picture of a society whose aim at perfection has completely eroded individual rights and freedom. A society where the state wields "power for powers sake" and truth and trust are a distant hallucination. The society is marked by fear of "vaporisation" and "un-person[ification]", where individual's movements and thoughts are constantly monitored and controlled by the Party. He also uses the very powerful ending of the book with Winston's betrayal of Julia, as the final testament to human will. He shows us that "to talk about the need for perfection in man is to talk about the need for another species"7 - that "perfection is not part of the human essence"8 Orwell's negativity is paralleled by Huxley's Brave New World, a utopian future based on science and technology where forced conformity is exchanged with eugenics and hypnopaedia conditioning. ...read more.


Atwood suggests, people will endure oppression willingly as long as they receive some slight amount of power or freedom - "truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations" and this passivity is the factor which enables the formation of totalitarian states. Again testifying to the limitations of the human character. However Atwood unlike Orwell and Huxley moves towards a heterotopic state at the end of the novel with the protagonist being whisked away to the underground by Nick signifying remnants of hope for humanity. Composers have often within their compositions addressed the human desire for perfection. But "numerous works of modern literature have been suspicious not only of the possibility of utopia, but of its very desirability" 9 By reflecting on "disastrous opposite"10 resulting form trying to implement utopia on a grand scale composers have highlighted that "Perhaps the greatest utopia would be if we could all realize that no utopia is possible." 11 - that "Perfection does not exist"12 1George Orwell 2Salvador Dali 3Wendell Bell 4Book 2 pg 132 5George Orwell - letter to Julian Symons 61984 pg 175 7Nelson Cousins 8 George Orwell 9 M. Keith Booker 10 Margaret Atwood 11 Jack Carroll 12 Alfred De Musset ...read more.

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