Dystopian novels clearly convey how humanity and individualism is lost in a broken world. To what extent is this true inn relation to ‘The Road’ and ‘1984’?
In both novels, the loss of individualism that has resulted from the breakdown of a once functioning society, has led to the loss of humanity for the majority of people in the broken world that remains. In ‘The Road’, the lack of structure and punctuation; ‘he pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none.
’ The use of the adjective ‘stinking’ to describe the things they have to keep warm alludes to the theme of survival. This theme relates to the loss of humanity that the majority of characters in the book have faced. This is conveyed by the cannibalism and Darwinian mindset that has taken control of the few remaining humans left. Similarly, in ‘1984’, both individualism and humanity are completely lost.
However, this has occurred as a result of a totalitarian regime which then leads Winston Smith and other thought criminals to survive by lying and acting like model citizens.
In ‘1984’, Winston has individual thoughts; ‘the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank when he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him· and yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right.’ The use of short sentences and an exclamation mark add impact and display how the character is trying to convince himself that he is right; he’s trying to hold on to his individualism and think for himself in a society where one having their own thoughts can result in them being vaporised from existence and removed from history.
Individualism is not allowed in this society, as letting people have their own thoughts would result in Big Brother being overthrown- people would realise how inhumane the society they live in is and thus revolt against it.
Opposing to this, characters in ‘The Road’ are allowed to have individual thoughts; which has led the world to become the way it is. However, the man and the boy appear to have a different view from other characters – the ‘bad guys’. They, similarly to Winston in ‘1984’ are ‘carrying the fire’ of humanity and trying to make the broken world better again. This extended metaphor used by McCarthy shows how they still have individual thoughts and humanity in a world where cannibalism is rife and a Darwinian mindset is the majority’s only thought.