I have added the first part of a research assessment to get you thinking about the task’s requirements. In the post I have used the theme, key questions and the introduction to the report. We will talk about this post in class tomorrow, so have a look and be ready to comment.
Representations of freedom and conformity in dystopian literature as portrayed in The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, Brave New World, Gattaca and We.
1. How is freedom and conformity portrayed in each text in relation to the dystopian society as a whole?
2. How important is freedom and conformity to specific characters and how does this shape them as a person?
3. What similarities are there in the representations of freedom and conformity in the five texts?
Freedom and conformity are age-old issues associated with humanity. Over time, different ideas on freedom and conformity have arisen, and can be represented in very different ways. The novels The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and the film Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol are all classed as being dystopian. All the texts contain some elements of, if not a full-blown totalitarian state. This makes them a perfect medium to make a social commentary on how people may react under repressing and frightening circumstances. The central theme in all the texts is that of freedom and conformity, usually focussing on one central character and exploring their interactions within the dystopian society.
By basing the texts in a futuristic dystopian society, the authors/directors can make a social commentary on how people today, and society as a whole, will react to a totalitarian regime. Under pressure of pain, or reward, most people will conform to set norms. They will conform even if the set norms are unpleasant, dull or downright ridiculous because it is easier or they do not know any better way.