The plot of
As a representative of the nineteenth century transported to the twentieth century, Julian is capable of criticizing nineteenth-century society. He clearly speaks as an enthusiastic supporter of the social and economic structure in Bellamy's imagined twentieth-century utopia. Bellamy well knows that his reading audience is likely to be hostile and incredulous regarding many of his ideas for social reform, so he persuades his readers to consider his radical vision of the perfect society by using a narrator with whom they can identify. Julian is a well-educated aristocrat, like much of the nineteenth-century reading public. He thus functions as a guide to Bellamy's strange, late-twentieth-century society. The long discussions between Julian and Doctor Leete are a symbolic representation of the dialogue between Bellamy and his audience. Julian, as a product of the nineteenth-century society, represents Bellamy's readers. Doctor Leete, as the mouthpiece for Bellamy's ideas, represents Bellamy himself. Through Julian, Bellamy anticipates the questions and concerns of his audience about his proposals for social reform. He rationally and systematically responds to these questions and concerns through Doctor Leete.
Julian characterizes the conditions of the nineteenth century as a moral outrage. Bellamy softens his harsh critique of his audience's most cherished beliefs by asserting that ignorance largely accounts for the existence of this outrage. Moreover, Julian asserts that the utopia he describes is the logical outcome of the nineteenth century's rapid industrialization. Contrary to his contemporaries' beliefs, the nineteenth century is not the apex of human civilization, but only one stop along the way. By placing his strange, unfamiliar, somewhat threatening vision of the future with the context of rational and logical progress, Bellamy attempts to persuade his incredulous and reluctant readers to give serious thought to his proposals for social reform.