Kelsey Fritts

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-18-2012

Major Department or Program



Suzanne Morrissey


Western society can potentially be characterized by our fear of our own potential power and our anxiety about politics and social institutions. Dystopian texts are used as a foil for social commentary on the issues that are affecting current society. The texts are frameworks that can provide warnings about the future and potential problems that may develop. Dystopian authors take themes that are anxiety-provoking and invert them in order to draw attention to issues of the modern day. In an analysis of several novels and short stories, this thesis discusses the use of dystopic fiction as an anthropological thought experiment. The cultural inversions in these texts are providing critical commentary on institutions and/or systems of justice in modern Western society. Overall, this thesis helps to shed some light on patterns present in dystopian novels and the author’s reasons for incorporating them.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Technology -- Advancements, Society in literature -- Government, Authors -- Influence, Future life, Fear -- Chronophobia, Future figure, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) -- Brave New World, Suzanne Collins -- Hunger Games (Novel), Margaret Atwood (1939- ) -- Handmaid’s tale, Ayn Rand -- Anthem, George Orwell (1903-1950) -- Nineteen eighty-four -- 1984, Lois Lowry -- Giver, Kazuo Ishiguro (1954- ) -- Never let me go, Western civilization -- Society, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2012 -- Anthropology Department

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Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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