Looking Backward 2000-1887

Connections through Character Portrayal

Edward Bellamy, in his novel Looking Backward, delineates a futuristic utopia set in the twentieth century in which humanity lives in a much more collaborative and unified manner. No longer do such concepts as currency or laws exist, while the motivation to pilfer or deceive has simply dissolved. The general public, as opposed to private institutions, now possesses control over the capital, holding it as a collective entity. Furthermore, militaristic armies have dissipated, and in place a cohesive labor force, which Bellamy refers to as the "industrial army," has risen (118). However, even with such radical and disparate changes, Bellamy is careful to maintain and construct certain connections to the nineteenth century, which is manifested particularly through the character portrayal of Julian West and Edith Leete, so that this utopia he has erected will not be one that seems totally ethereal and inconceivable to his audience.

Foremost, Bellamy's decision to utilize Julian West as the narrator, who, originally from the nineteenth century, mysteriously wakes up to find himself in the twentieth century, proves to be a very apt one. Julian plays a very critical role throughout the novel, because he serves as the...

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