Utopian Literature, Looking Backwards

Recently I started learning and reading Utopian literature in my English class. Now Utopian literature is just an imaginative society where everything is, “perfect.” A place where the government owns everything and where socialism actually succeeds for once. The book I started studying is called, “Looking Backwards” by Edward Bellemy. Looking Backwards is a best-seller written in 1987. And there are multiple instances in this book where its explanations seem implausible.

In the book, only one thing every happens, that is, the discussion of socialism. There are two main characters, West and Dr. Leete. West had just woken up from an 113-year deep sleep without aging and is now asking questions about the city, Boston, to Dr. Leete. In the book, Dr. Leete mentions that work is never compulsory, but that everyone wants to work. he also mentions that he who will not work will not eat. Isn’t this compulsion? So West ask’s Dr. Leete whether or not human nature itself has been changed, and the reply to that is no, it’s just that everyone is willing. It is also mentioned that everyone does his best. West asks Dr. Leete how they know if everyone is doing their best, and the answer is that everyone is doing his best. I find that pretty stupid.

I know that Looking Backwards is a very famous and high ranked book, but I just can’t grasp how other people find this plausible.

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