Dystopia, Disguised as Utopia
Kim Hong Taeeun  |  smt_tek@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2017.10.15  20:13:09
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Dystopia, also called anti-utopia, is the darkest, most negative future world that one could imagine.  It is the direct opposite of an ideal and perfect world.  In a dystopia, today’s problems are much more prominent.  One can imagine such a dystopian world when reading the famous line, “Big brother is watching you,” from the novel ‘1984’.  In that dystopia, everyone is without freedom of any kind.  In Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, a person’s character and life are determined prior to conception.  Though the world has had its eyes open to the possibility of a horrific future, writers continue to fantasize over such horrors because they not only reflect but also criticize real world problems.



The Giver

"The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain.  It’s the loneliness of it.  Memories need to be shared."  - Lois Lowry


There is no hunger and war, but also no color, music, emotion, pain, and memories of the past.  This community pursues ‘sameness’ in order to guarantee security and conformity.  Everyone is assigned a path in life from the age of twelve.  Jonas, the main character, is depicted as nervously awaiting to hear his predetermined role in life at the Ceremony of Twelve Upcoming.  The Chief Elder calls his name last and bequeaths that Jonas will become the Receiver of Memory.  This position requires specific training from the Giver.  The Giver passes on past memories, both pleasant and terrifying.  The more time Jonas spends with the Giver, the more his eyes are open to color, his ears to music, and his senses to sympathy and love.  In very little time, Jonas becomes dramatically different from all others.  He learns about what is restricted from others.  He quickly realizes that the community where they live is not a representative of the entire world and that its people are missing out on vital aspects of life. 


The Newbery Medal winning novel ‘The Giver’ is one of the best novels for young adults.  While it is entertaining, it also challenges young people with a valuable lesson.  Everything in today’s society operates like a competition.  People are pushed to study harder, work harder, make more money than others, so it is interesting to read about a community in which everyone’s status is equal and everything is shared in equal amounts.  It solves a lot of problems and conflicts, but it also requires a lot of sacrifice by people in return.  In the novel, the community exists without color to assure equality and maintain the idea that is differences or no one is better than others.  People live dull routine lives.  ‘The Giver’ gives its readers a chance to reflect on their current lives and recognize how precious things we take for granted are.



Minority Report

"Sometimes, in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark."  - Dr. Iris Hineman


In year 2054, the world is clean and safe from crime.  Three special ‘Pre-Cogs’ foresee crime and and special cops called ‘Precrime’ arrest the accused before the crime is committed.  John Anderton, Chief of Precrime believes the system is flawless.  One day, however, Pre-Cogs foretell a murder that John will commit within the next 36 hours.  John denies this and swears he has no knowledge of his victims, but other Precrime officers issue a call for his arrest and hunt him down.  To prove his innocence, John struggles to obtain the minority report released by one of the Pre-Cogs who had a different vision of the future than the one predicted by the other two Pre-Cogs.


‘Minority Report’ is film based on the original short science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick.  At first glance, the policing Precrime system seems perfect and the world appears safe and secure.  However, when trouble comes to the main character, John Anderton, audiences soon realize the system and society are flawed.  Pre-Cogs are not treated as human beings but as machines.  Also, the iris recognition system, while it may provide more convenience, means that there are iris scanners and cameras everywhere.  Today, society has not yet reached that level of identification, but many people and companies use finger identification and there are CCTV cameras all over the city in public areas.  In other words, the dystopia presented to us in the movie is not that far from reality.  The film deals with this serious subject in a very exciting way.  The twist in the plot and the reasoning and action by the main character thrills the audience.  The SMT reporter highly recommends this movie.  It is one that will satisfy and invoke all senses.


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