Consider the political structure, degree of technology, social relationship, quality of life, and education.
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The setting for this novel is a dystopian-like collectivist state. Everybody must work for the benefit of the whole state. Unfortunately, like many collectivist states, the reality is not ideal. There is a forced conformity and a complete lack of individuality. The leaders are considered more intelligent than the rest of the populace. There is a very medieval sense to this period or even the Dark Ages. Decisions about work, reproduction, and living situation are all decided by the state. This world is very dreary and depressing.