What Do I Read Next?
• Animal Farm (1945) was George Orwell’s 1945 fable about the inevitable course of all revolutions. In it, a group of animals revolt against the farmer who is their master and set up their own form of government. The most intelligent animals, the pigs, are in charge, and hopes are high when the animals write their own bill of animal rights. However, over time, these rights are eroded as the pigs begin changing the rules.
• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1931) influenced Orwell’s own futuristic novel, 1984. Huxley’s totalitarian state, which exists in London six hundred years in the future, is less grim than Orwell’s, but its inhabitants are as powerless and oppressed as the citizens of Oceania. Huxley’s characterization and prose is less sophisticated than Orwell’s, but his novel is funny and fascinating. The inhabitants of his society are controlled from before birth by a handful of elite rulers with sophisticated technology. When a primitive person, the Savage, from outside the society is introduced, he confronts the shallow values of the citizens.
• This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (1970) is another futuristic novel about a totalitarian society with very different values from that of contemporary society. As in Brave New World, citizens dull their pain and fears through drugs and are genetically very similar. Those who have genetic differences have a greater tendency to be dissatisfied with the pacified society, which is controlled by a huge computer that dispenses the mood-altering drugs.
• The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985) is the story of a woman named Offred, who lives in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive society of the future in which women’s roles are severely limited.
• Harrison Bergeron, a satirical story by Kurt Vonnegut was inspired by Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. Harrison lives in a totalitarian state in the future. He is very intelligent— not an advantage in this society—so...
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