Utopia : work of art or totalitarianism schematic?

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Raymond W Jones (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Janet Ellerby

Abstract: In Thomas More’s 1516 masterpiece, Utopia, seafarer Raphael Hythloday tells the author (who is depicted as a fictive character) and his friend, Peter Giles, about the virtues of an almost perfectly governed, communalistic society. More and Giles are enthralled with Hythloday’s historic and present-day accounts of Utopia, primarily because they describe a society that treats its citizenry with far more equality, dignity, and respect than either man has ever seen their own country, England. Among the reasons that Hythloday cites for Utopia’s social successes is that it is a classless and moneyless society that doesn’t allow for the ownership of private property. Each Utopian citizen works in an agrarian collective for the common good of all. In other words, everyone happily shares the harvest of all things equally with everyone else—no one goes without. As commendable as Hythloday’s espousals seem to be about Utopia, it is my contention throughout this thesis that twentieth-century despots like Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and Jim Jones may have ascertained, either directly or indirectly from the textual gaps, nuances, and hypocrisies in More’s book, what they deemed necessary and then implemented such notions not only to create their own social utopias but also to mercilessly control and maintain them.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
More Thomas Sir Saint 1478-1535--Criticism and interpretation, Utopias in literature
Utopias in literature
More, Thomas, Sir, Saint, 1478-1535 -- Criticism and interpretation

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