Freedom! Dystopia. &  Normal Service Resumes

So, Sunday was thesis deadline day, I managed to hand it in on Friday and took a few days off to recover! Now I am back and will be updating a bit more regularly. Here is a bit on my thesis and the writing of it:

Thesis 1

The final week = edit, edit, editing!

Writing the thesis was a pretty interesting process, I have never written such a long piece of non-fiction before. My subject was freedom in dystopian literature – specifically Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The basic premise being that though dystopian literature by definition is a reaction to the contemporaneous world of the author, it retains relevance and understanding through the ever present themes of freedom, free will and liberty.

Of course I have written a lot of papers over my studies but I think the reason I enjoyed the process as much as I did is because I love the books so much. The first part of the process, as with any paper I write (after reading the novels, of course) is research, research and more research. This is normally the most tiresome part, though I love the literature and getting a more in depth perspective on it some of the writing on it can be shall we say…pretty dry! But with these novels I thoroughly enjoyed this, being able to really pick apart the books and get down to such a detailed level, and having such a large word count to meet, meant no constraints on my research. So often I have to curtail my research and narrow my focus so much more as the paper required is so short, here I didn’t need to do that and I was in my element…!

For a lot of people these books are so bleak and dark that they cannot understand my passion for them, firstly, Nineteen Eighty-Four The Handmaid’s Tale particularly are just so well written that even with such depressing subject matter they are worth reading. And secondly for me, it is this presence of hope which makes the books worthwhile.

Thesis 2

Submission Time!

If the books were truly so dark, why would freedom, and the pursuit of freedom always be so present as a theme? Yes, these attempts to gain freedom, more often than not, fail. But someone tried, someone hoped enough, even in such bleak prospects, that freedom could be gained. The authors write these books as a prophetic warning, a warning which would not be worth giving if there was no hope of freedom from the chosen constraints was possible.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably my all time favourite book, with one of the best opening lines, and most heart wrenching endings in literature. If you haven’t read it, what have you been doing? Prepare yourself for that ending though…every time I get there it is like a knife through the heart.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen…” – George Orwell


Why do I read? Why do I write?

Since taking part in my university’s student led conference on the theme, ‘What do we read? Why do we read?’ at which I presented on the subject of dystopian literature and why we read it. I have been thinking about why I read, and write, and where the love for both came from.

brave 2

For me, I always wrote, I had a typewriter for Christmas at the age of 4 or 5 and absolutely loved it, and loved writing, later at the age of perhaps 12 I remember being at the word processor writing ‘books’ for my mum. I remember 2 prominently one called the GORDY’s about a chimera like race, with each letter representing a different animal, sadly I do not remember which animals. The other was a story about a group of teenagers camping on a river side cliff, one dies but is saved by the river goddess, only on the premise they return every anniversary and make a replacement sacrifice. Yeah, I may not have been the most normal of kids, but I loved to write, always.

Reading for pleasure, was also, always there, but the studying of literature, the deeper love of dissecting literature, getting more from it, that came later, I can almost pinpoint the moment.  At the age of 16, studying literature for my A-Levels, I first read Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ And I fell in love with reading, I realised that reading, and so writing, could be so much more, it could do so much. It could say so much more, it was not only an escape, a fantasy to go to, another world to inhabit. But it could inhabit my own world, the real world, and help me to question and learn and discover things I might never have thought of before.


And so now I prepare to write my thesis on dystopian literature, because it is the literature that showed me there could be more, that I could question the world through writing. It is the writing I wish I could create. A way to challenge the world, to challenge the control and censorship all around us, to challenge religion and politics, and sometimes, that feels more important now, than ever.