In Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy’s classic nineteenth-century utopian novel, Julian West falls asleep on Decoration Day in 1887 and awakens from a deep trance 113 years later at the start of a new millennium. Julian’s trance has kept him from aging and, like Rip Van Winkle, he begins his new life healthy but in a state of shock. The shock soon turns to joy, however. Julian has left behind a world of social strife in which living as a rich man among the poor made him feel as if he belonged to an alien race. The America of 2000 is by contrast a model of efficiency and egalitarianism. The government is a Great Trust for which everybody works part of his or her life. The labor strikes and social unrest that caused Julian so muc...
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