Two Different Dystopias: George Orwell ve Kazuo Ishiguro

A dystopia is a fictional society that depicts a dark and negative future where oppressive and totalitarian regimes prevail and cause individual freedoms to be restricted, and the environment is grim. Such stories convey critical messages through scenarios where current social, political, or technological trends are extremes. Kazuo Ishiguro and George Orwell are two significant figures in dystopian literature, expressing deep concerns about humanity’s future through the dark worlds they create. Both authors highlight the dangers of authoritarian regimes, social control, and the loss of individual freedoms. Their treatment of these themes and the characteristics of their dystopian worlds differ significantly.

George Orwell’s “1984” is one of the most well-known examples of dystopian literature. The novel portrays a world where individuals living under a totalitarian regime are being controlled through constant surveillance and manipulation. The world Orwell created is governed by an absolute authority figure known as Big Brother. The Party uses continuous propaganda, censorship, and methods like “doublethink” to control individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and even perceptions of reality. The protagonist, Winston Smith, tries to develop an internal resistance against this oppressive regime but ultimately fails. Orwell’s dystopia presents a world where topics like freedom, individuality, and reality are entirely obliterated.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go,” on the other hand, presents a different dystopian universe. Ishiguro’s world addresses ethical issues hidden behind the facade of a seemingly modern and civilized society. The novel is based on a world where human clones are bred for organ donation. These clones are created by real humans and are seen as entities used to serve the needs of society. The protagonist, Kathy H., deeply questions her identity and humanity as a clone. Ishiguro’s dystopia questions how individual freedoms and human rights can be violated through social norms and scientific advancements.

In the works of both authors, different forms of authoritarian regimes and social control can be observed. Orwell’s “1984” provides more explicit political and social criticisms, showing how totalitarian regimes destroy individual freedoms and control people’s thoughts. The world Orwell creates paints a terrifying picture of living under constant surveillance and the suppression of free thought. In this context, Orwell’s dystopia focuses on themes of political oppression and propaganda.

Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go,” however, handles dystopian themes on a more personal and emotional level. The novel centers on ethics and human rights, telling the struggle for the identity and existence of individuals. In Ishiguro’s world, relationships and emotional bonds between individuals stand out more prominently against the backdrop of dystopian elements. This world questions the impact of social norms and scientific advancements on humanity. Ishiguro’s dystopia shows how individual identity and freedom can be violated in the face of social interests and scientific progress.

Another significant difference between Orwell and Ishiguro’s works is the technological and social structures of their dystopian worlds. In Orwell’s “1984,” technology is used as a tool of the totalitarian regime. Surveillance devices like televisions, telescopes, and microphones are used as monitors for every moment of individuals. This technological oppression serves as a way to control people’s thoughts and behaviors. On the other hand, in Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go,” technology deals more with biomedical and ethical issues. Cloning technology causes individuals to question concepts of humanity and identity.

In conclusion, George Orwell and Kazuo Ishiguro are two great authors who explore different aspects of dystopian literature. While Orwell exposes the frightening effects of totalitarian regimes and social control, Ishiguro focuses on individual identity and ethical issues. Both authors provide thought-provoking and impactful dystopian worlds by deeply examining the human condition.


Ceren Erden

Literature Writer