A) According to Claeys, a utopia should improve the world, but should also be realistic. It is also separate from religious beliefs about a better world after the end of time. If the original aims of that utopia are misused by the leaders, a dystopia can quickly develop.
According to Sargent, the words utopia, eutopia and dystopia all refer to a particular sort of fiction that describes a society that does not exist.
B) According to Benedict Anderson, imagination and communication contributed to the development of utopian communities. Imagination referred to the spirit of possibility that informed much of early American culture. Communication referred to the growing spread of information that was possible with new technologies.
C) According to Donald Pitzer, three reasons for the susceptibility of American culture to the promises of a utopian community include the fact that emigration already means leaving their established comfort zone behind, that many people headed to American had been persecuted for their beliefs in their homeland, and the chance to reform their lives in the New World.
D) According to Timothy Miller, there are four elements of an intentional community. One is the deliberate choice to live in proximity to one another. Another is the decision to improve perceived problems in society. Another is a high level of interaction among the group members, including a sharing of financial resources and a limitation of individual freedom for the benefit of the community. Finally, there must be at least five members.
E) When people write or think about utopia, they tend to consider the following: alternative relationships, sharing financial resources, secession from surrounding political entities, the difficulties of putting systems of rules together, the reasons why utopian communities tend to fall apart quickly, social problems that lead to utopias in the first place, and utopian satire.
Setting is crucial in the writing of a literary utopia. For example, in Orwell’s 1984, the story had to be set in the future, to allow for the development of the technology needed to monitor the members of society as closely as the book dictates. Also, it was important that the existing political boundaries of the world be obliterated, in order to create the giant impersonal zones of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. In both “Canterbury Pilgrims” and “Shaker Bridal,” the setting also plays a crucial role in the expression of theme in the two stories.
In “Canterbury Pilgrims,” the setting relies on the juxtaposition of two groups: a band of disenchanted people leaving the materialistic world behind by joining the ascetic Shaker community in New England, only to run into a Shaker couple who have decided that they want to try their hand at love and marriage (forbidden by their sect) on the way out. The attempts of the disenchanted to convince the young couple that the world out there is a sordid place, filled with suffering and greed, would not be able to take place without this meeting. This story is actually an accurate representation of the journey that Hawthorne himself took, as one who entered a utopian community, only to leave, disenchanted, a short time later.
In “Shaker Bridal,” the story takes place at the occasion of an oxymoron: a Shaker wedding. Because Shakers did not believe in marriage as an institution for love and marriage, this sort of ceremony was highly unusual. Instead, the purpose of this wedding is to give the community a degree of celibate leadership. The setting gives the story a foundation of irony, as it describes a situation that would almost never have taken place. The contradiction that the bride (Martha) feels at taking part in a celibate marriage to a man whom she had loved when younger causes her to collapse, perhaps to the point of death. This removal of love from marriage, to Hawthorne, takes the essence from the entire institution.