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Religion, sex and language: three means of governmental control in Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Dystopian fiction is almost always an analysis of contemporary society and trends within it. The novels in this study all deal with how a regime can control its populace. Three of the main means of control are religion, sex and language. Religion can be used as the leading means of control as in The Handmaid’s Tale, or to reinforce the other means, as in Brave New World. Religion can be shaped to serve the ends of the regime, instead of satisfying the individual’s spiritual needs. This is a common feature of dystopian fiction. The natural sex instinct is one of the most powerful human drives and because of that it needs to be controlled by the dystopian regime. The Handmaid’s Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four controls it, and through it the populace, by suppression. In Nineteen Eighty-Four the pent up energy from the suppressed sex drive is channelled into war hysteria and public rallies against the enemies of the State. Brave New World, controls through sex in the opposite manner. By making sex easily attainable, the World State removes any other meaning than pleasure from the act. If language is dominated, so are the people speaking it. Newspeak in Nineteen Eighty-Four is the epitome of this: the entire language is designed to restrict the range of thought to purely Party ideology. The hypnopaedia in Brave New World and the denial of language for women in The Handmaid’s Tale are other ways to use language as a means of control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Humanities Theology, Dystopian fiction, Control, 1984, Brave New World, The, Handmaid's Tale
Keyword [sv]
Humaniora, Teologi
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-41993ISRN: LTU-CUPP--08/045--SELocal ID: 012d8612-8bbe-4370-b6ea-595f5212a147OAI: diva2:1015209
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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