Billenium by J.G. Ballard

“Billennium” a short story by J.G Ballard, portrays a society plagued by overpopulation. This story also serves as a quintessential example of dystopian fiction. Evidence of this includes a back-story of overpopulation, a protagonist who questions society and a standard of living poorer than in contemporary society. Ballard’s use of a back-story in “Millennium” helps to show us how it is a Dystopian Fiction also showing us how many changes to society in “Billennium” have been made.

“Ahangover from the days fifty years ago when people indeed lived on to a room sometimes even one per house”-pg 127. This quote tells us that things were not always the way they are right now. The city used to be a “normal” place not an extremely crowded hellhole. “The street was always full, endless clamour of voices and shuffling feet”-pg 125. When you look at this quote closer, you see that the author is not just saying “there are a lot of people on the street.

” Take into account the adjectives Ballard uses to describe the city, “endless clattering of shuffling feet.” That is in no way “the street is full” that is Ballard telling us how crowded, depressing and unlivable this city is. “A drastic change revolution like that would be almost impossible to carry out”-Ward. This is said by the protagonist of the story (Ward,) it is him speaking about the conditions of his city.

Someone told him of an uprising but he just shakes it off telling them it is impossible. Having a back-story such as the one in “Billennium” shows us many things, it can easily be said that it is a quintessential element of Dystopian Fiction. Another important element of dystopian fiction, if not the most important is to have a protagonist that questions society. In our story we have Ward, who hates the conditions of his city and makes that clear, “Ward would lie awake on his narrow bunk until two or three in the morning mechanically coun.

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