Twentieth-century dystopian novels: a reflection of the making of the modern world
AuthorMonowar, Muhammad Mustafa
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The first half of the 20th century marks a critical transition from the Victorian to the modern era paving the way to dilemmas of the postmodern age. This period saw the colonies and feudal systems breaking up, and technological innovations leading to rapid growth in industrial activities and urban settlements. Consumer culture, complex state systems, fascism, communism and totalitarianism as well as anti-intellectualism, surveillance, and media influence were on the rise. Most of all two great world wars brought about a spiritual crisis for many. All these issues led to dystopian writings which formed a striking literary movement. This movement attempted to criticize the contemporary events and forecast its grim future consequences. This thesis looks at three dystopian novels: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1931), 1984 by George Orwell (1949) and Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954). It will analyze these texts using Marxist, Althusserian and Freudian theories, and will argue that these dystopias need to be considered to understand the history of the early 20th century as well as the socio-political dynamics of the present day world.