Why would the society in Gathering Blue be classified as dystopian?
A dystopian society is contrasted with a utopian one. In a utopia, the society is blissful and self-sufficient, whereas a dystopian society is a misconstrued attempt at utopia. In a dystopian society, egalitarianism and attempted perfection are forced upon the residents by some form of governing body, and their superstitions and naivety of the world keep them bound to that government.
In the book Gathering Blue, the village is a constructed compound of sorts that is ruled by a central—quite literally—government of individuals in the community. The individuals in this society are unwittingly oppressed because the government retains all forms of individuality, expression, and intelligence to itself, and they prevent people from fleeing by telling stories of beasts outside the village that will kill them if they escape. In doing so, they keep the villagers isolated from intelligence, freewill, passion, and the outside world to sustain this artificial community.
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