What are some examples of dystopian characteristics?
The story The Twenty-One Balloons is a story about a utopia, but the question asks about what are some dystopian characteristics. I'll provide information about typical dystopian characteristics, and they can be contrasted with a utopia.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following definition for "dystopia."
An imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.
That's a fairly limited and broad definition. It doesn't provide typical features that cause the citizens to be dehumanized and fearful. The following elements are typical features of many dystopian societies.
- Propaganda is used heavily to control citizens.
- Citizens have a fear of the outside world or other societies.
- Information, freedom, and independent thought are restricted. This is completely different in The Twenty-One Balloons. The story emphasizes the themes of creativity, individuality, and cooperation.
- Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are not promoted.
- The citizens are under constant surveillance, or they believe that they are.
- Some kind of leader, figurehead, or concept is supposed to be worshiped by the citizens.