A Comparative Marxist Analysis of Two Fictional Dystopias: The Matrix and Never Let Me Go


  • Aparna Hettiarachchi University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka


The present study conducted a Marxist analysis of the movie The Matrix (1999) directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and the novel Never Let Me Go (2005) written by Kazou Ishiguro, both of which are categorized under the dystopian genre. Both The Matrix and Never Let Me Go portray a speculative alternative reality that is oppressive and that appears, at first glance, vastly different from the contemporary society. However, as the present study argued, it was this speculative nature of these alternative realities that paved the way to the two texts’ larger agenda as dystopian fictions, which is to critically engage with the systemic oppression in the contemporary society. In this context, the study employed Marxist theorizations of labour and capital, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus in order to uncover Marxist overtones of the two texts. The study indicated that despite the striking differences in medium, content and authorial background, the novel and the movie engaged with issues related to the dehumanized social conditioning of modern day human society, and thus produce a criticism a criticism of the dehumanizing effects of capitalistic hegemony and the manner in which it enslaves human body and mind through ideology. The present study argues that their criticism of the dehumanising effect of the capitalist hegemony lies in their ghastly redefinition of capital, labour, social classes and working conditions. Furthermore, the study argues that if The Matrix unveils the ugly “base” of capitalist economy, then Never Let Me Go explores the social reality of living in its “superstructure” conditioned by all its ideological apparatuses
Keywords: Ideological state apparatus; ideology; Marxism; Never Let Me Go; the Matrix