Jeanette stereotypical dystopian themes such as the dangers

Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods discusses abounding relevant topics to demonstrate humanity’s inability to learn from its mistakes, as well as to warn the reader about history repeating itself. Jeanette Winterson tells multiple stories which take place across different timelines and planets, to teach the reader that past mistakes are being repeated multiple times. She also means to make the reader more aware of this, by trying to warn the reader. She sets stories in postmodern societies, living in a dystopia. Dystopian novels are often characterized by themes including dehumanization, dangers of technology and environmental issues. This text will discuss how the book conforms to the stereotypical dystopian themes such as the dangers of technology and the importance of humanity. Firstly, in order to gain a better understanding of the particular genre to which this texts conforms to, a dystopia is a world in which there are multiple issues involving an oppressive societal control which creates the illusion of a perfectly functioning society. Dystopian novels, such as The Stone Gods, criticize current events, political systems and/or societal norms, by creating an exaggerated worst-case scenario. The protagonist of a dystopian novel generally feels trapped and fights to escape, and struggles to do so. In addition, the protagonist often questions and criticizes social and political ideas and systems in the dystopia. Moreover, the perspective of the protagonist often helps to convince the reader of the protagonist’s view. Additionally, dystopias often are illusions of utopias (a perfect world), in which the citizens are meant to conform to specific orderly expectations. Individuality is out of order. The Stone Gods discusses myriad dystopian themes, including the dangers of technology and the importance of humanity/dehumanization among others. One of the dystopian themes that is relevant in the novel, is the dangers of technology. A dystopian novel is often written as a criticism towards current events. People are currently losing their jobs, because of the so called “Tech Threat”. Our technology is said to shape our world’s future and solve our present problems. Nonetheless, this modernization could risk changing our world as we know it, and could in fact in its turn change humanity’s very definition. One of these ‘threatening’ technologies is the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is developed to improve the working of robots and computers by making them able to learn from their surroundings. AI is replacing millions of workers because it can autonomise so many (formerly) human-managed objects such as for example factory assembly lines and other service industries. By replacing humans with robots, AI will continue to contribute to our dehumanization. Jeanette Winterson tries to warn her readers for the dangers of technology by introducing AI in the first part of the book, when Billie is interviewing Spike and notices that robo sapiens, such as Spike, are evolving and are “becoming a closer relative to humans than the ape”. Furthermore, as Spike gets her data drained, Billie thinks that she will not be able to recall it, because that is how Roo Sapiens are programmed. However, Spike tells her that the programmed limits, such as the one of her not being able to retrieve data, have been broken. This shows that the Robo Sapiens are learning from their surroundings and evolving beyond human control. Which can be led back to the discussion of AI in our current society. This discussion mainly includes arguments such as AI being a danger towards us humans. We are creating a piece of technology which can learn on its own by trial and error. At some point, quite inevitably, AI will become superior towards humans and could endanger, not only our humanity, but also our existence, or at least our position in the world. Another dystopian theme which is certainly of importance in the book is the importance of humanity, or dehumanization. We as humans have morals, it is what makes us human and it shows our values. Jeanette Winterson uses this theme in the Stone Gods in several ways, but mainly she uses this with the rise of pedophilia in the first part of the book. On Orbus, pedophilia is normal. People have access to genetic alteration with the development of technology. On Orbus, people are extremely concerned with the way they look. Billie explains: “All men are hung like whales, all women are as tight as clams below and inflated like lifebuoys above.” everyone on Orbus looks ‘perfect’, however this ‘perfect’ is no longer interesting. Billie clarifies that by making everyone look young and beautiful, people are getting bored to death with sex. According to her, “nobody gets turned on”. People start to genetically alter themselves to look like children. An example from the book would be mrs McMurphy, who wants to genetically alter herself to like like a twelve-year-old. She wants to because her husband only shows interest in girls that age. He spends most of his time at the Peccadillo, which is a perverts bar. Children are being bought from the Caliphate to work in the sex industry. This shows how low the moral values lie for the people on Orbus. It shows that they have lost their humanity. Jeanette Winterson uses this example as a worst-case scenario for the current plastic surgery industry. She criticizes it in order to show her readers her point of view and wishes to convince them by, by showing how the protagonist feels about it. Her purpose is to warn her readers, and wishes for them to feel happy with the way they look. Because the protagonist, Billie, is a minority considering genetic alteration. She wishes to be herself and not alter herself. In conclusion, The Stone Gods conforms to the stereotypical dystopian themes such as the dangers of technology and the importance of humanity. Jeanette Winterson uses themes like these in order to warn her readers for current events and criticizes societal norms. She wishes to convince her readers of her point of view by using the protagonist. The protagonist shares the same opinions as the writer and helps to persuade the audience.


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