Totalitarianism and Dystopian Literature- Josh Zuckerman

(Originally Published in the November 2014 issue of the Princeton Tory)


The struggle against a totalitarian government is unsurprisingly a frequent theme in dystopian literature. Almost by definition the genre is set in a futuristic society characterized by extreme oppression and despondence. Malevolent autocrats at the helms of totalitarian governments have, throughout our history, been responsible for innumerable travesties. This young century alone has witnessed the evil of Bashar al-Assad, Omar Bashir, and Saddam Hussein. Probing only slightly deeper into our collective memory, we are acquainted with the reigns of Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Josef Stalin, Hideki Tojo, Francisco Franco, and (of course) Adolf Hitler. The last hundred years have undeniably been bloody, and it is therefore only natural that our perception of dystopia largely revolves around the evils of the totalitarian regime.
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