A dystopia can encompass various ideas and multiple aspects of society, which contribute to the creation of an imagined universe where nightmares become reality. In order to criticize a certain aspect of society, authors create dystopias “through an exaggerated worst-case scenario” (“Dystopias”). In many dystopias, the leaders, or those in power, use propaganda to control the citizens. These rulers restrict freedom and information from their citizens. In The Hunger Games and in 1984, the government controlled all aspects of life and kept important information about their nation from civilians. One of the main characteristics of a dystopia is the concept of fear. People live in fear of the government and live in fear of changing any aspect of life. A dystopia is “an illusion of a perfect utopian world” (“Dystopias”). The citizens of a dystopian nation don’t know anything different from their respective dystopia, so they go along with the government, living in a dehumanized state.
Very often in dystopian literature, scientific innovation has led to the demise of an older society and the creation of a dystopian one. In The Giver, the government developed science to control how people think and what they see. Dystopian literature mixed with science fiction creates a world in the past or in the future in which something bad happened, so the government took over with scientific innovation. Suzanne Collins created Panem to reflect how the government has developed in science and technology in hundreds of years following the present generation. The leaders in The Hunger Games were able to create dogs from deceased tributes to eat those that remained alive. This can only happen in a dystopia affected by science.
When combined with Young Adult literature, the dystopia genre shifts to incorporate a protagonist that challenges the dystopian world he or she lives in. This character is meant to connect with young adults, rebuilding the community and making a better world for the citizens to live in as well as the readers to live in.
“Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics.” ReadWriteThink. NCTE/IRA, 2006, http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2017.