After looking at Thomas More’s 1516 Utopia, which gave rise to the very term, Year 9 are currently studying George Orwell’s dystopian classic Nineteen-Eighty-Four. The students were challenged to write a short piece of dystopian fiction of their own, containing features similar to those found in Orwell’s prophetic masterpiece. The adjective “Orwellian” can be applied to a dystopian image of a future of state oppression, propaganda, industrialisation, close observation, cult of personality, and loss of individual liberty. Naria’s writing below captures those ideas, and has a style so distinctive that it could perhaps be categorised as “Narian”.
I choose a newspaper from the stand. All of them are the same: choice wasn’t an option here. I swim through the crowded beach and as I do so I hear unpleasant rumours and murmuring, along with the regular nasty word. I try blocking them out as I seek some place to sit. There are none. The benches are full of people; to the point they stack onto each other. Everyone looks the same: so much so if I hadn’t lived here I would think I was in some artificial intelligence hideout jam-packed with clones.
I decide to turn back and return to the main building. Citizens keep on running their mouths off. They mention how amazing the world is with an obvious tone of sarcasm. It is the only thing they can even talk about. They act, converse, behave like NPCs in a detailed RPG do. And so do I. I have no other choice. In this place it’s either respect the rules or lose your life.
I head into the even busier street. It’s like a continuous traffic-jam. All day, everyday. Some businessman pushes me onto the side of the road. He looks back for a second and in that moment I see his eyes soften as if trying to apologise. My eyes widen and I quickly scan my surroundings, checking for any hidden cameras. Sympathy isn’t allowed, he should know that. I swiftly turn back to see the man’s head mixing in with the rest of the mass.
Crossing the road, I reach the main building. The fresh odour stings like a strong peppermint. It’s almost intoxicating. I get to the counter and register my finger. I pass multiple people as I reach my room on the fourteenth floor. After I unlock my door, I reach my window which had fogged up because of all the factory emissions. To put it in comparison, take the strong peppermint scent, make it carbon, then breathe that and only that until a tall reaper with a scythe greets you.
There is a billboard the size of my room in front of my only source of light. It says, “The best city is here – The Figure”. I read the newspaper. Number 1 city; number 1 economy; number 1 individuality… I put the paper down. It was so wrong. One glance at the city and that statement is incorrect and misleading. I sigh and flop back down onto my bed. All of my leg doesn’t even fit; my toes stick out.
I get up. Register. Leave. And now I’m in the overflowing road again. The Figure is in the office so I hear. I reach the A52-west factory and start my shift by registering my fingerprint. Our supervisor checks on us once a week and this time the vice-president of the section tags along too. I look up to see a familiar face. I stare for a while then realize, hastily getting back to work, it was the man from yesterday. I nervously continue filing the papers and cough while doing so because of all the smog in the air. I bet he noticed me too but thought it was best not to say anything.
While on my daily ten minute break I decide to take a risk. I leave my workplace and sneak into the not-as-busy-but-still-busy road. I head to the beach. It isn’t as busy as yesterday since everyone is at work. Terrified, I cross the beach and climb over the seawall. I gasp at the sight. Blue waves, white brushstroke-like clouds, white sand, the distant sound of seagulls. Saying it’s a dream would be an understatement. I sit on the edge of the seawall, swinging my legs back and forth as the levanter brushes against my skin. The sea mixed in with the cerulean sky. For a moment I feel so unconfined, so unchained, so free… it’s terrifying. Not a moment later, I sense a tall man holding a scythe. I sense a nerve going down my spine. I sense the goosebumps covering my body. I turn into stone at the sound of footsteps drawing closer to my newly found hideaway.