The word dystopia comes from the Greek word “dys + topos”, and was coined by Thomas More, which means an imagined society or community where the domination of an authoritarian government can be seen. In dystopian works, we can see fear as a control mechanism imposed by the brutal and tyrant government and the constant surveillance, punishments can be analyzed.
Implicitly or explicitly the citizens live under surveillance and are expected to act in accordance with the rules and the laws of tyranny. Thus, citizens are dehumanized, suffer massively and usually, their individuality is taken from them and a community without “uniqueness”. The important works of this particular genre are 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. And today, I am going to analyze Fahrenheit 451 and the theme of limitation in the novel.
Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most important and prominent dystopian novels which contains the theme of limitation. Similar to other dystopian novels the prominent element of dystopia is a totalitarian system’s domination and restriction of freedom of thought and speech and imposing fear as a control mechanism for surveillance. The lack of free will is the other important element that can be analysed throughout the novel. The peculiar choices of the citizens are restricted, and they are expected to act in accordance with the rules and laws, otherwise, they suffer the consequences. Thus a “sameness” concept is intended by the government, to create submissive, subservient citizens. The citizens’ limited daily life begins with the pressure of censorship through the prohibition and burning of the books which detract the citizens from thinking, analysing and researching. In other words, the limitation starts from the mind and intellect.
The other limitation is that the citizens do not have personal experiences, memories, hobbies and thoughts since they are obliged to do nothing but to work and watch TV. Living a superficial life, the only subjects that are dominant when the citizens come together, are what they watch on TV, what kind of commodities they have or buy. The last but not the least limitation of daily life is the fear of being “different”. As mentioned above, one of the main goals of the government is to create a community under the name of “sameness”. Therefore, those who are different are considered as “anti-social”. Hereby, all the citizens of the community desire to be the same as the others and to be considered as “social”. To exemplify, Guy Montag’s wife Mildred is one of those who are afraid to be considered as different and exposed to the effects of being otherized and marginalized thus she tries to be similar to the others which makes society conformist. To conclude, sameness and conformity are imposed on people over control mechanism which led submissiveness and lack of free will and this is an element of dystopian works. For further reading, you can check the best 5 dystopian list below.
1.THE HANDMADE’S TALE by MARGARET ATWOOD
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood in 1985. The novel is about a group of women in the name of “handmaids” who are forcibly charged to produce children for the upper-class men who are known as “commanders”. Gaining independence in a patriarchal society is narrated over the oppressed women.
2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian satirical black comedy written by Anthony Burgess in 1962. The theme of youth violence over the protagonist Alex’s life. Also, the novel narrates the experiences of Alex against the authority that tries to reform youngsters.
3.Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a dystopian science fiction written by American author Philip K. Dick in 1968. The novel sets in San Francisco after the nuclear global war. The story narrates the main character Rick’s “retiring” or in other words killing the six escaped androids.
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go is a dystopian science fiction novel by Kazuo Ishiguro that was published in 2005. The novel is about clones who exist to become donors for real people. The novel narrates the tragic side of the lives of the main character Kathy and her friends.
5.The Iron heel by Jack London
The last dystopian work is The Iron Heel by Jack London which was published in 1908. The novel accepted as the first example of modern dystopia. The novel narrates the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor. It describes the fall of the United States to the fascist dictatorship of the Iron Heel.