In 1888, the reader saw Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy for the first time. This utopia novel was considered as one of the most remarkable pieces of writing created by American writers. It was a real world sensation, where the author made a wonderful attempt to represent his personal standpoints concerning economic and even social reforms. The major point about this novel is that Looking Backward: 2000-1887 may be considered as both a fictional utopia and a historical document that helps the reader to pay attention to past events and their impact on future development of society.
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Edward Bellamy tried to reflect the ideas that could be inherent to the 19th century, and focused on such issues like inequality and the difficulties lots of industrial workers may face with. To my mind, one of the major goals, which Bellamy wanted to achieve is to provide the reader with an opportunity to see one of the possible variants of our future and underline the fact that our present even not significant steps could considerably influence certain future events.
When we talk about the work by Edward Bellamy, we cannot but mention such notions like utopia. Thomas More was the first philosopher, who presented the utopian society to his readers; there were so many followers, who also wanted to present their own ideas how social conflict may be overcome in future and what economic reforms may safe our world from total destruction. The attempt of Bellamy is really worthy of attention.
Julian West is the major character of this story, who falls into a hypnotic dream and finds himself in future, in the year 2000. Now, the country West lived in turns out to be a socialist utopia with its advantages and disadvantages. Bellamy’s description of the socialistic utopia is one of the most expressive ones, which describe how social progress influences the lives of many people. Now, it is not some kind of isolated republic; it is a great industrialized world that is created on social cooperation.
As any work of fiction, Looking Backward: 2000-1887 presents one concrete world with its own rules and peculiarities. The conditions of people of future utopia are higher than of the people from the 19th century. “The author has sought to alleviate the instructive quality of the book by casting it in the form of romantic narrative, which he would be glad to fancy not wholly devoid of interest on its own account.”
(Bellamy, 2003) This is why the image of a young rich man, who has personal troubles and doubts attract the readers and provide them with an opportunity to enjoy the events, inherent to any person in this real life. Looking Backward: 2000-1887 may be also regarded as a captivating historical document that introduces captivating facts about future. It is a kind of forecast, those creator tries to take into account certain evolution principles and possible industry development.
In order to create more or less proper historical document, the author does not want to give concrete numbers and details from the life of each person of the world. He admits that the life turns out to be safer and better; people get an opportunity to have credits in order to be able to buy something; nature is still able to cooperate with technologies. Such ideas are really too much kind for the future that can be changed by means of social reforms.
The world, described by Bellamy, turns out to be a real industrial paradise: “every worker is allowed…to volunteer for another industry which he thinks would suit him better than his first choice….obtain a transfer to an establishment of the same industry in another part of the country.” (Bellamy, 2003) This is why the difficulties, which any industrial worker could face in this Bellamy’s utopia, is the disability to enter the necessary circle in order to start personal growth and development.
With the help of this book, modern people can easily find out how other people from our past wanted to see our future. This fiction helps to compare the abilities of our grand parents and their expectations. Every person has his/her own ideas as for our future, and only several authors are able to share this information in a comprehensible for lots of people ways.
This is why Looking Backward: 2000-1887 has all rights to be one of the most captivating stories, where the author from the 19th century introduces the picture of the 20th century and guesses lots of facts. Our 20th century finds a kind of reflection in this work, and we should be proud of the fact that Edward Bellamy was our past, who considerably influenced our future.
Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a great work indeed: it is a captivating fiction story and a reliable historical document, where past economical system and the influence of social reforms are taken into consideration. The description of utopian communities and the conditions, created for industrial workers – this is what the work is about. The authors had a look at own future, and did it really great and deserving.
Bellamy, E. MacDonald, A. (2003). Looking Backward: 2000-1887. Broadview Press.