Dystopian Heroes A dystopian society mainly asks one question and that is, “What if? ” Typically, their government, beliefs, and way of life are different from what we would find normal. All the literary works demonstrate a society unlike ours including: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “Harrison Bergeron” by Harrison Vonnegut, “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury, Anthem by Ayn Rand, 1984 by George Orwell, and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
In every dystopian society, there is an outcast who does not agree with the government.
Dystopian heroes are usually disconnected from the rest of their society. There is usually a slow progression of rebellion until they break away completely and is seen as a danger to the balance and order of the society. There cannot be a dystopian hero that completely obeys the laws of the government because they would blend in and not be seen as different.
Also, dystopian heroes are typically brave and daring. Their intentions do not necessarily have to be for the good of others; some have selfish ideas of rebellion.
In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the dystopian hero is Atticus Finch, a lawyer and a father of two children, Jem and Scout. The society in To Kill A Mockingbird has more racism than today’s modern society. Atticus does not let others influence his anti-racist and non-judgmental beliefs, which sets him apart from the rest of the society. He was an outsider to the town of Maycomb during the Tom Robinson case. He was called a “nigger-lover” because of his defense for Tom Robinson (Lee84). Atticus remained strong and did what was right.
His compassionate character makes him heroic, especially to his kids. He passes on his beliefs through words of wisdom that might not mean anything to Jem and Scout, until they experience it for themselves. Atticus says that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from [their] point of view . . . until you climb into [their] skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30). By the end of the novel, Jem and Scout had new meaning to the life around them because of their new profound maturity. In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the dystopian hero is John the Savage.
He was in a new society, different from what he was used to. He was against it from the very start because their beliefs and way of life contradicted with his. The World State had done away with the ideas of love and family to create their version of a perfect, utopian society; however, John had a mother, Lenina, whom he loved. When Lenina passed away, he “[pushed] open a window that looked on to the inner court of the hospital and [threw] the little pill-boxes of soma tablets in handfuls out into the area” (Huxley 213).
His outburst was his last attempt to change this mad society. In the end, the society won, and he ended up secluding and killing himself. In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, Tessie Hutchinson is the exact opposite of a dystopian hero. She arrived late to the lottery and had an overall bad attitude. As everyone took turns drawing cards, Tess was closer to her death each step. Bill was the original “winner” of the lottery, until Tess objected. She complained that it was not fair for Bill, so they redraw, but it was Tessie who had the paper with the black dot.
As the villagers threw stones at her, she screamed that it wasn’t fair. Tessie was ill-mannered and hypocritical. She was not happy with any results that had interfered with her life. She should have taken what was given to her, the first time. In “Harrison Bergeron” by Harrison Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron is, again, the non- dystopian hero. Although he tried to make a change and break away from the rules of the society, his reasons were selfish. He says, “Watch me become what I can become,” as he tears away his handicaps. He did not care for others being free, only himself.
His selfish reasons led to his death and the death of another ballerina. In “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury, the dystopian hero is Leonard Mead. Leonard Mead is living in a society filled with TV and technology. He likes to go outside for a simple walk, until one day, a police car stops him. He was seen as strange for not watching TV, so he was sent to a correction center. Unlike all the other people, Leonard Mead keeps all his house lights on. It might be symbolic for his warm heart, trapped in a world of darkness and oblivion around him.
In Anthem by Ayn Rand, the dystopian hero is Equality. The society that Equality was stuck in had no individuals. They had even replaced the word, ‘I’ with ‘we. ’ Equality explores into the unknown and discovers light. When he goes to the House of Scholars to present his discovery and gift, they reject him and he runs away with another person named Liberty. Together, they find a house from the Unmentionable Times and they live there. They plan to go back and gather others who want to join them. Equality is a dystopian hero because he rebelled for non selfish reasons.
He stuck out from the rest. In 1984 by George Orwell, the dystopian hero is Winston. At first, Winston seems like he would succeed in taking Big Brother down, but instead, he is forced into listening to him. He had disliked the government at first and rebelled by committing thought crime. By the end, he had given into Big Brother and turned out to not be a hero after all. In Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the dystopian hero is Miranda. Miranda is stuck in a post-apocalyptic world where the moon was knocked closer into Earth’s orbit by an asteroid.
It causes tidal waves and volcanic eruptions and disaster in general. She sticks out as the hero to her family because she was at first seen as immature. She was forced to grow up quickly in order for her to be able to pull through with her family. Although everyone was dying around her, she remained strong and made it through. In conclusion, a dystopian hero is one who isn’t afraid to be different. There cannot be a dystopian hero that follows the rules of society, because everyone would be the same. They make bold moves and decisions that make them stand out.
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Dystopian Heroes. (2016, Nov 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/dystopian-heroes/