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Looking backward edward bellamy essay help

Apr 18, 2018

Edward Bellamy was a failed journalist, novelist, and lawyer before the publication of Looking Backward catapulted him into fame. His socialist utopian novel has been considered one of the most influential books published in the nineteenth century. As a utopian novel, a form that dates from Plato, the novel suggests that there is a perfect form of living and of government.

Bellamy was neither the first nor the last utopian novelist. The publication of Looking Backward was followed by other utopian novels, among them William Morris’ News from Nowhere (1890), H. G. Wells’s A Modern Utopia (1905), and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). Utopian authors try to provide a plan and a program of living for a better society. As in many utopian novels, Bellamy’s conception of the future is without strife, imperfection, or crisis. Similar to other exponents of this genre, Bellamy envisioned his ideal world as a socialistic paradise. Looking at his time and seeing many correctable social ills, including poverty, crime, and labor problems, Bellamy sought to provide a radical remedy.

Bellamy saw the roots of America’s problems in the social and economic structures that set capital against labor in the search for profit. From the huge profits that capitalists acquired through exploitation of the working class, they could “buy” government officials. To stem these practices, Bellamy’s new society...

Although the dream structure was only an intermittent part of the novel, the reader is momentarily led to believe that what is happening in the year 2000 is a dream. What other novels or films use the dream structure throughout (Examples: The Man)? Wizard of Oz and The Family

Make a list of the developments, both technological and social, that Bellamy predicts. Note those that have come to pass in some form or another. Why did his other predictions fail to come true?

Compare Bellamy's proposed economic and governmental system to that of communism. What are the similarities? What are the differences?

How would you rewrite this story to make it a better and more interesting novel? What elements of composition (dialogue, action, characters, scenes, etc.) would you change or add to make this more a work of literature than a social commentary...

You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Looking Backward
In Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy argues that monopolies running the American economy was one of the most significant problems in 1887. It was Bellamy’s belief that small independent businesses would not have the ability to succeed due in part to corporate monopolies running them out of business, or just buying them out. He gave an example of the railroads being slowly brought up until,“a few great syndicates controlled every rail in the land.” Bellamy’s opinion was that the monopolies were able to take advantage of their customers and small business owners because they had too much control of the markets. (34-38)
Edward Bellamy criticizes the American government system because of the corruption present behind their curtains. He talks about government officials being bribed often, sometimes even seeking out ways of making money by abusing their powers. In Bellamy’s utopia, both the economy and the government have been created so that officials have no means of being corrupt, and the worst an official can do is be a bad official. Political parties have also been eliminated in Bellamy’s ideal world, eliminating demagoguery along with it. In this society, public officials win their elections on ability only, rather than criticizing their opponents or slandering. (40)
Bellamy criticized America because every nation was potentially an enemy to them. He speaks of war as two nations in a slight disagreement, followed immediately by sending hundreds of thousands of people into mutilation and death. Bellamy creates this world where war is not present, and it is portrayed as a world much better then the one that he lived in. (39)
Citizens of the United States with disabilities were useless in their economy, in Bellamy’s eyes. If someone were to have a relative that was handicapped, they were given the responsibility of acquiring enough money to pay for both themselves and the handicapped person. In Bellamy’s world, there was a workers corp. that...

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