To Succeed One Must First Dream in Looking Backwards by Edward Bellamy

1163 Words 5 Pages
Set in the late 19th and early 21th century, Looking Backwards is a utopian novel discussing the advantages of socialism, a political philosophy that many disenchanted intellectuals of the 19th century believed in. Edward Bellamy, the author, is included in that class of intellectuals. By being transported to the "modern day," Julian West, the protagonist, is able to contrast the two societies he has lived in: the capitalistic 19th century and the utopian, socialist 20th century. Julian West, a member of the aristocratic class in Boston, lives an enchanted life among societies most wealthy members. He doesn't have to work much at all, and he is due to be married to Boston socialite Edith Bartlett. Because his mansion is in a newly …show more content…
Set in the late 19th and early 21th century, Looking Backwards is a utopian novel discussing the advantages of socialism, a political philosophy that many disenchanted intellectuals of the 19th century believed in. Edward Bellamy, the author, is included in that class of intellectuals. By being transported to the "modern day," Julian West, the protagonist, is able to contrast the two societies he has lived in: the capitalistic 19th century and the utopian, socialist 20th century. Julian West, a member of the aristocratic class in Boston, lives an enchanted life among societies most wealthy members. He doesn't have to work much at all, and he is due to be married to Boston socialite Edith Bartlett. Because his mansion is in a newly de-gentrified neighborhood, he is building a new house. The engaged couple is waiting for the house to be finished to get married because it would be unbecoming for them to live surrounded by such filth. Striking laborers have forced them to delay construction on their house and therefore their marriage. The strikes are used be Bellamy to reveal social discontent with the old system. West resigns himself to the view that the poor must keep pulling the car of wealthy people to the top of human progress and that maybe one day a few could join the car. In essence, many of the wealthy, including Julian, have a social darwinist view on the 19th American class system. As far as he was concerned, his and the rest of the upper class's top