Date of Award

1-20-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

Since the earliest recorded settlements, there has been the desire to build a functioning world where everyone is happy and there is eternal peace and harmony. By the nineteenth century, many people had tried to create the perfect society and all failed in their attempts. As with many modes of life utopia and its' darker sibling dystopia were woven into the fabric of literature. Here the duality could thrive with examples of successful utopias but at the same time there are stories that about utopias that fail, one being The Blithedale Romance written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The latter becomes a focal point of the paper in its view of utopia and the inability for one to exist, either because of the people who construct it, or perhaps even the idea itself. The failure of the fictitious Blithedale and its real-world counterparts lead into a possible future given life by M.T. Anderson in his futuristic dystopia of Feed. Feed describes a world where people are physically connected to the internet through an implanted computer. Even though the people living in this world see it as a perfect utopia, the elements of dystopia are only thinly veiled. The conclusion comes to this in regards to utopia and its viability, the fact that all utopian experiments have failed cannot be solely blamed on the idea of utopia. The reason for of the failures are the people themselves. The failure of utopia is that the people who live in the ''utopia" are not first utopians themselves, rather they expect the constructed utopian space to make them utopians afterwards. In this way The Blithedale Romance and Feed work in concert to show the faulty logic in how utopia has been viewed in the past and to give hope for the resurrection of the belief that utopia can exist.

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