Date of Award

6-9-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

While George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World are typically labeled dystopian literature, B.F. Skinner's Walden Two has more of a utopian reputation. Walden Two as well as much of Brave New World are conceptually utopian, that is, the primary goal is the happiness of the people. But dystopian societies are created when the state dictates without opposition the values and morals of the society. In this regard, even the most seemingly utopian societies are not truly utopias but rather dystopias. These particular novels focus on the psychological conditioning of the mind and in effect the changing nature of man. All of the other approaches used in the novels (e.g. disintegration of family, technology, control of the body, fear of outsiders) are accessories to the state's ultimate goal of altering human nature to suit the society as a whole. In these texts, there are no "heroes" in the traditional sense to rally behind because eventually each is defeated by the state's power. Because these authors do not give us the happy ending we expect, we are instead left with revelations of our present world and their warnings of our future.

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