Utopia by Thomas More - a Book Review

One of the revolutionary books that discusses the makeup and foundation of society is regarded as being Utopia. The book is hailed as revolutionary because it questions social norms, such as minority control over the majority in positions of leadership. The book embraced a brand-new literary genre while also utilizing a well-liked format. The scope of the book's impact has had far-reaching effects, influencing modern literature and bringing in billions of dollars for the modern media. The text altered how people read, demonstrating a philosophical shape through its actualization. The book transformed literature forcing a reader think of things that were not well explained until Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes did so in the 20th century (Betteridge 4). The three elements revolutionized by the book are still present in the contemporary society as either literary movements, on political debates or already practiced techniques.

The book Utopia challenged the politics of the world. The text held up an ardent mirror to the feudal wealth, aristocracy and the greedy considering them offensive and corrupt. Book 1 narrates of a circle of injustices meted against the poor, where the book talks of the poor being pushed into stealing by the poverty, the government responding by arresting them and jailing (Betteridge 6). Afterwards, they are released with no better condition other than poverty, making them steal again.

More wrote the better part of the book Utopia at Holland while making a business deal with the Dutch wool weavers. The trip made More come face-to-face with the disparity between the shepherds of the sheep that produced the English wool and the English landlords who were paid for the wool. The book lists the wide inequality that was present in England, which boils up a sense of painful anger in the book. More uses Raphael Hythloday, a fictional character, in the description of the inequality leaving his representation plus that of Peter Giles to give weak protestations. Using the fictional character made the readers think that the criticism never belonged to More.

After messing up in the First Book, More provides solutions in the Second Book. More tries to prove that there is a possibility that a nation can organize itself so as to not find itself in the inequality state experienced in Book 1 (Betteridge 7). In the new insight, More argues that social barriers may be eliminated, bringing the entire society to an equal level. This form of society can only be achieved through a communistic state where financial transactions are done away with no one allowed to hold good privately. Communism, according to More, is the only viable solution to solving the inequality problems in the society.

More’s support for a communist society comes from him being an apprentice at the London Charterhouse as well as being a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn. The two institutions possessed a meritocracy and strong ethics for work places. Just like Utopia, the communal meal times and gardens were a common feature at Lincoln’s Inn bar.

A strong criticism of the social order in Utopia is that it is made up of comparatively small societies, often of willing and voluntary participants who in either way liked the communist form of life. The size of the societies is vital; the London Charterhouse considered as large has 24 monks while Lincoln’s Inn was occupied by 200 workers when More was there (Betteridge 8). It was highly unlikely that the replication of the same society to Utopia would yield the same positive results as depicted by More. The control of the experiment was based on the notion that the citizens were positive about the new system. Ideally, this is not the reality with the human society.

Utopia is an example of a political working given that it tries to develop a possible solution to the real world by examining the real world societal problem. As such, the Utopian through can be considered as the first of the European modern day science fiction movies. Utopia is a response to the real world, showing the situations which cannot happen in the society which already exists.

The third revolution that Utopia describes is the verisimilitude it strives to set up. The writer develops a fictional society, which is then made to be believable to the readers, engaging the book on an ontological style. The work provides a large volume of prefatory material, which seeks to authenticate the point of view provided by the main text. In the text, letters are sent between Giles and More, referring to Raphael as if he were a living person (Betteridge 10). Utopia is defined as an exercise in that; they go out into making the account valid, yet the name by itself means “No-place”. Humanists argued that readers should strive for a more persuasive examination of the book’s veracity instead of just accepting all of its ideas.

Work Cited

Betteridge, Thomas. Writing Faith and Telling Tales: Literature, Politics, and Religion in the Work of Thomas More. University of Notre Dame Press, 2013, pp. 2-12.

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