Nightmare on Main Street : an analysis of the urban environment in dystopian fiction

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Donica, Alyson E.
Parker, Francis H. (Francis Haywood), 1938-
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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The rise of the dystopian genre gave authors a new way to publicly critique societal problems. By exaggerating the current situation, authors are able to construct a world that exposes society's darkest fears. This characteristic of dystopian literature can be used as a tool to examine the problems with the physical structure of the city at the time the novels were written. The Machine Stops (1909), by E.M. Forster, exaggerates the pollution that British cities were experiencing at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano (1952) extrapolates the monotony created by post-WWII developments, and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (2003) provides the readers with a look at a post¬industrial city destroyed by ecological and biological disaster. Additionally, each novel demonstrates a tendency of dystopian literature to utilize the physical description of the city to emphasize the society's socioeconomic structure.