The society in V for Vendetta seems to be composed of very frail components held together by greed. On the one hand you have the civilians who live in fear of the Head, the government. They also live in fear of a lawless nuclear wasteland. So while they despise the government they are also afraid of a life without it. The civilians exhibit a frailty of mind, which is exhibited in the character of Evey.
On the other hand you’ve got the Head. Without the buffer of human guards the Head is a very delicate structure. Their are only a handful individuals that compose it and each of them are only human. You take them out and the system falls apart; at least until another set of individuals use force, charm or comforting promises to rise to power. In order for the Head to function and stave off being destroyed it must have all its parts working.
So what truly keeps things “stable” in the dystopian landscape of Britain is the mass of people who work for the branches of the Head. They are civilians since they do not rule but they have more power than those of common civilians since they enforce. They are the nameless mass that composes what is truly terrifying about the dystopian society.
But what motivates them? Why listen to the governing members at all? If everyone just went about their business and tried to help each other out when they could, wouldn’t that be the saving grace of humanity even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland?
In my mind it is greed and the sense of power they get. The power they get isn’t a real thing, it’s an idea. But the idea of power makes people confident and entitled, they feel they can do more and that they deserve more. Since this idea is given to them by the leaders of the Head, they stay in line. They don’t want to lose the idea of power that is fed to them. And if they started being kind, then taking what they wanted would be a lot harder; harder because if you start to view someone as a person instead of an object you start feeling sympathy, and sympathy breeds guilt.
The point I’m trying to make is what makes the dystopia possible is fear and greed. Civilians fear the head and simultaneously a lack of a governing body. The Head wants control of the populous but fears an uprising. Between them the enforcers like being able to push people around but also fear losing their power and the breakdown of the current society.
So to me the difference between a utopia and a dystopia is motivation and state of mind. If people can manage to survive and I don’t want to say thrive, but do relatively well in a nuclear wasteland then perhaps a utopia is possible.
To be graded medium: