Fear, Anxiety, Surveillance in Dystopias Revisited: A Retrotopian Perspective
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COVID-19, Dystopias, Homelessness, Lockdown, Pandemic.

How to Cite

Ilyas, M. . (2022). Fear, Anxiety, Surveillance in Dystopias Revisited: A Retrotopian Perspective. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 11(2), 97–108. https://doi.org/10.55493/5019.v11i2.4526


The term dystopia has witnessed several new meanings including the one associated with the literature of the pandemic. These writings describe the scenes of fear, anxiety, and surveillance in flu-affected societies. This paper makes a qualitative study of a few selected novels published during 2000-2020 to understand the retrotopian perspective. No research has been carried out on pandemic dystopias with the retrotopian perspective. The dystopias selected for this study includes Whitehead’s Zone One (2011); Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014); DeLillo’s The Silence (2020) and most recent May’s Lockdown (2020). The findings reveal that each novelist preferred the retrotopian perspective, projecting an ideal past as the more plausible solution to their traumatic present. The protagonist in each of these four novels suffers traumas and witnesses the apocalypse both internally and externally, but each is engaged in a quest into the past and searching for the lost identity. This study fills up the research gap that currently exists in the field of dystopian literature related to the past or retrotopian studies. It would also open new avenues to explore the possibility of experimenting into devising a new theory or a genre of retrotopia.

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