Utopia vs Dystopia
Utopia and dystopia are genres in literature, often fiction, which are creations of the minds of the writers. While someone disgruntled with the position of women in society and the way they are discriminated against by the society, may envisage a genderless society in which both men and women have equal rights and powers with no discrimination against women. This is essentially a utopian society, which does not exist in reality. However, this is an author’s point of view, and nothing to do with what the reality may be. Dystopia is the exact opposite of utopia in the sense that the author envisages a society that is farthest away from utopia. This article attempts to highlight the differences between these two imagery predispositions of authors in fiction.
If one takes the help of a dictionary, he would find it defined as a place that does not exist. Can you imagine a place where everything is just ideal with no disease, deaths, no discrimination, no rich and poor divide, no domination of women by men, a just and fair legal system with a nice political class with not corruption at any level? It is just not possible, but writers dare to think of such a place and keep the setting as an isolated, imaginary place. Utopian fiction is often an attempt to explore political and social structures emphasizing the viewpoint of the author. The origin of the word lies in Greek outopos, which means no place. The word was used for the first time by Sir Thomas More in 1516 in his book titled Utopia.
The word comes from the Greek language where the meaning is bad or ill. It was first used by British thinkers in late 19th century as a contrast to utopia envisaged by authors. It paints a pessimistic or negative picture of an imaginary world. This imaginary places is divided in classes and castes with an education system in place to preserve the differences in the society. There is the negation of individuality and constant surveillance of people by the government with almost draconian regulation of the society by the authorities.
What is the difference between Utopia and Dystopia?
• The major difference between utopia and dystopia lies in the perspective of the author though sometimes, the dividing line between the two can be very thin.
• When an author is carrying the message of hope, he talks of ideal situations that are construed as utopia
• When an author presents a picture of dejection and despair, he takes recourse of dystopia.
• Utopia talks about equality of mankind while dystopian societies are based upon segregation.
• Utopian society is full of ideals while there is oppression and inequality in dystopian societies.
• There is an underlying message of warning in dystopian societies while there is an underlying message of hope in utopian societies.