Which story element is most often found in dystopian fiction

patrick perkins Z3 uSvERPfM unsplash
patrick perkins Z3 uSvERPfM unsplash

Dystopian fiction is a genre of speculative fiction. 

It typically describes an imagined world in which social order has broken down or completely disappeared, often due to mass civil unrest, social upheaval, war, natural calamity, or ecological catastrophe.

The primary purpose of dystopian fiction is usually to explore the consequences of such an order breaking down and its impact on society.

 Dystopian tales often explore how human nature and human relationships will be altered by new or modified circumstances. 

There are many different story elements that can lead to a feeling of dystopia in some form. These elements of the story form the dystopian framework. 

It is important to remember that not all dystopia is created equal and many stories can be great on some level and on some other layer fall short of breaking the mold. 

The word “dystopia” derives from Greek words δυνατός (dynatos) “having power, potent, able”, and οἶκος (oikos) “house, household”.which story element is most often found in dystopian fiction ?

Story elements found most often in dystopian fiction are :

1. Post-apocalyptic setting. 

This is a rare setting found in dystopian fiction, but when it does happen it is often in one or more of the following forms:

The story takes place many generations after a major world catastrophe, such as a nuclear war. 

In this setting, the main conflict is between characters attempting to rebuild human society and human characters struggling against genetic mutation and social devolution. 

There are several movies that fall into this category including “Mad Max”, “Escape From New York”, “Blade Runner”, “The Postman” and others.

The society has reverted to primitive conditions with no civilization remaining, due to either nuclear holocaust or ecological disaster.

 The story takes place many years after the end of modern civilization; only scattered small societies remain.

2. Self-contained world. 

This is typically found in science fiction, but can occur in other genres. The world is typically like our world, but with small changes or differences that make life difficult. 

For example, the people of this book may use running water and electricity, but during certain parts of the time period (for example, during daylight), they may not be able to use these resources because the sun does not shine or because there is no electricity due to a weather event.

 This is more of a gray area than the others, and can often be found in dystopian settings.

3. Units and castes. 

These are typically found in science fiction; however, some dystopian stories may employ this element.

 In the book “Brave New World”, for example, each person is assigned a caste at birth (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta) based on his abilities and talents. 

This concept is also employed in such works as “Wall-E” (in which Wall-E and his kind were created by humans), “Zardoz” (in which warriors had been genetically modified to become immortal supermen), and other science fiction pieces like the short stories of C. M. Kornbluth.

4. The Iron Fist Society. 

In this society, the strong rule and the weak are beaten. In works such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood or “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” by Roger Zelazny, this element is frequently employed to demonstrate the corruptive influence of power.

 In a society with a hereditary monarchy, a caste system, a ruling class, and a divided populace, there is every chance that some individuals will be more powerful than others – or that one person may emerge as leader – and use his or her power to oppress the weak and mistreat those of lower status.

5. Regulation of human reproduction. 

In some dystopian fiction, there is a very firm system of regulation regarding human reproduction.

 In the “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, for example, those who were genetically superior were allowed to have as many children as they wished – while those who were either genetically inferior or had a genetic disability were required to use birth control or undergo sterilization. 

In other dystopian fiction – such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” – women are treated as property and forced to bear children against their will for the purpose of repopulating the world.

6. Fantastical elements. 

This is not to say that all futuristic dystopian fiction is fantastical in nature, but there is a fine line between fantastical and dystopian fiction. 

In the “Giver” by Lois Lowry, for example, the society’s structure was that of a seemingly perfect utopian society. 

With all needs met in this societal structure, there was no need for violence or war; in order to maintain this state of “utopia,” however, it had become necessary to eliminate individualism and creativity by releasing everyone’s memories at once so no one would develop too many bad habits or undesirable traits.


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