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ENGL 1102: Kazuo Ishiguro and Dystopian Fiction   Tags: course_guides, dystopian fiction, english, ishiguro, literature, research_guide  

A guide to assist in the study of the novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Last Updated: Sep 4, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is a Dystopia?

A "dystopia" is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a "utopia"  Such societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in a future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.

Wikipedia. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from


What is Dystopian Fiction?

The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal society, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction (sometimes referred to as apocalyptic literature) is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres, and arguably are by definition a type of speculative fiction.

Wikipedia. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from

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