I recently finished reading the book, “Looking Backwards,” by Edwards Bellamy. In it, West, the main character, has two dreams. One in which he dreams of going to the year 2000 and wakes up back in 1887, and another dream of where he dreamed of waking up in 1887 but was always in the year 2000. Which dream do you think is more plausible?
I think that the dream of where West wakes up in 1887 and realizes that his whole time in 2000 is a more plausible dream. I think this because this is actually possible. Imagine falling into an 113-year sleep without gaining age. Is that possible? That just sounds like a rip winkle van story to me. So West woke up in 1887, and his whole worldview is changed from that dream. West finds out that the Boston of 1887 was horrible, and that the newspapers were filled with crimes and disasters. Because of course, in 2000 all crimes and disasters were gone, even natural ones. So West finds out that there is a lot of advertising in the year 1887, the walls, ground, and everything but the sky is covered with advertisements from businesses which want to benefit themselves and customers. For in the year 2000, there were no businesses, so there was no need to advertise. The government controlled everything. West sees some people from both poor and rich families. Walking along West saw the army, and noted them as the model which everyone should follow. But the only reason the army could be so orderly is that they were fighting for their nation and that there were very severe punishments for abandoning the army in battle. Later, West goes to have a dinner with his friends and then sees that they are eating such good things while other are not. Seeing that, he castigated them boorishly for their lack of concern for the poor. Then, West admits that even wealth distribution wouldn’t provide enough for all people. So how did the utopian society make all equal then?
I think that West dreaming that he woke up in 1887 is a less plausible dream because that means that he took an 113-year Rip Van Winkle snooze. And I find that impossible. And plus, if he did happen to sleep without aging for 113 years, then how did our society change to a utopian society. Didn’t he admit that even wealth distribution wouldn’t provide enough for all people? Plus, the book never even explained how the change happened, it just said, “Suddenly all humanity realized that their way right now is a bad way,” in a more polished language.
So I think that it is more plausible that he actually dreamed of going to the year 2000 to a utopian place mainly because I find that it is impossible that one could sleep for 113 years and also because the book states that the world decided to do a bloodless coup and have everyone give up their own possessions so that the government can own everything. I just find those two facts very implausible.