Utopian Society Essay Research Paper How the

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Utopian Society Essay, Research Paper How the Quest for a Utopian Society Has Been Obscured by the Struggle for Power According to the curriculum of our Athens to New York course, we are supposed to study certain themes that are carried through history and literary works of various eras. In addition, there are some recurring themes that also become evident, especially in some of the more recent works that we have studied. Works like Cornel West’s Race Matters, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial, carry many similar themes, and teach us readers some important lessons about ourselves as the human race. Through each work’s message, we can study “what it means to be: human, a member of a community, and moral, ethical, or just, as well as how individuals

respond to differences in race, class, gender, and ethnicity in relation to action” (this quote taken from one Bob Anderson). While I dare not attempt to categorize each of the meanings that the authors gave to their books, I can find one major similarity. In each of the books, the author is in search of a Utopian society that does not contain all of the faults of our modern day society. Charles Darwin heavily believed in “survival of the fittest” in his work with evolution. In the society that we have created in our world today, one can see this belief holding true. Survival and all around relations between different groups in general has become dependent on five little letters. These letters spell out “power.” One who holds the “power,” seems to try and lord over

those who do not. This struggle over power has become one of, if not the, reason for the major differences between groups. While the battle over power rages on, a Utopian society will continue to be an impossible goal. Allow me to explain by use of the books I have earlier highlighted. Franz Kafka’s Night tells the story Joseph K., a man who must defend himself against the courts of the day, while lacking any and all information about his case. The man finds himself suddenly arrested one day and placed on trial for a crime he does not know he committed. The man becomes increasingly frustrated as he finds no one capable of helping him develop a case to defend himself with. No one can even provide him with any information about why he is on trial. With no where to go, and no one

turn to, Joseph discovers that the justice system that was designed to help the people has worked against him, and his situation is utterly hopeless. Kafka makes a strong about how modern bureaucracy and totalitarianism has become so extreme that it harms the people that it is designed to protect. Justice has become jaded by its own self and its own methods. A government is created by the people, for the people, but has instead gained the power to lord over the people. Here we see the power switch from man to the system. Joseph has become alienated from normal society because of crimes that he does not know he committed, displaying the corruption of the justice system. This nightmare is not entirely too far from our modern day reality. According to a well-known book that

discusses this topic, Urban Administration-Management Politics and Change, “Contemporary technological society places a heavy burden upon the individual to adapt to a large-scale, highly complex, and often times impersonal bureaucratic environment. For a substantial number of the members of the modern mass societies this burden has become the source of pervasive feelings of anxiety and estrangement now fashionably termed ‘alienation.’” (Bent & Rossum, p. 201) Man now has the choice of falling into line and being another “cog in the wheel,” or finding himself alienated from the rest of society who presumably does. In this dark and dreary portrait that Kafka paints of our modern world, a community is formed when everyone agrees to accept his role, be equal with