Are Dystopian Novels Coming True?
North Korea is run by an evil oompa loompa. Kim and Kanye procreated. Justin Beiber joined the dark side! These warning signs, amongst others, are proof that the apocalypse is upon us. Luckily, literature can help prepare for these times. Generations of wise writers foresaw mankind’s decline and penned allegories of how to counteract it.
The most prominent example is George Orwell’s defining novel, 1984. Published in 1949, this book was a cautionary tale which time has turned to foreshadowing.
The story tells of an ominous government that holds unlimited control. They enforce nationalism through propaganda and citizen monitoring. It could be argued that this “Big Brother” mentality is similar to America’s “Patriot Act” and the NSA’s 2013 wiretapping scandal.
Another dystopian novel that mirrors modern reality is Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. This futuristic society features gangs of youths who fill their days with crime and violence. They are the exact type of kids who would play America’s newest pastime, the “knockout game.”
When a teen in Clockwork named Alex is imprisoned, the government tests a behavioral conditioning program on him. Alex is injected with chemicals that make him ill. He is then forced to watch violent videos until he associates them with nausea. Once “rehabilitated” Alex is released back into the general public. The downside is that Alex is now softened and defenseless. Ultimately, the book suggests that aggression is a dangerous but necessary evil that should be carefully monitored. Extremism in either direction is unhealthy. This is a lesson that could be learned today by both coddling parents and gruesome television producers.
In Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World, human behavior is controlled through drugs instead of conditioning. The fictional SOMA pill is eerily similar to Ambien, Adderall, and other common mood stabilizers. Also, this futuristic society is divided into a caste system based on intelligence… so at least we’ve avoided that!
Finally, in Farenheit 451, writing is recognized as a source of wisdom. Certain politicians wish to limit public knowledge by destroying the memory of books. Fortunately, today that would never hap
What do you think? Are the nightmares from any of these novels really coming to pass?