I began reading “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy a few days ago for my English class. It is a piece of Utopian literature. A utopia is “an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens” according to Wikipedia. So a piece of Utopian literature is a work of fiction that takes place in an idealized world. A lot of times utopian fiction is also science fiction, where the author investigates what life would look like in a perfect society and what conflicts might possibly arise from living in a perfect, or almost perfect, society.
Since this book is a piece of Utopian literature, it has numerous unbelievable things written in its pages. However, the one thing that I have read so far that is the most unbelievable thing is the fact the main character, Julian West, has been asleep for one hundred and thirteen years! When I first read this I was so confused! I know this book is fiction, but that seemed pretty extreme. I have no idea why the author is writing about someone who has been asleep for over one hundred years. This is not physically possible! No one could be asleep for that long. The longest anyone has ever slept for a seven-year old boy who slept for eleven days straight. The doctors have no idea what caused or how he was able to sleep for that long without any medication.
There are other fictional stories of characters sleeping for an extremely long time. In the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” a spell is cast on a young girl named Aurora where she is put into a deep sleep. In the real fairy story Aurora is asleep for one hundred years! During these one hundred years she does not age even by one day. Another fictional character who sleeps for a long time is Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle slept for twenty years after drinking liquor from dwarfs he meets in the woods. Rip Van Winkle, unlike Sleeping Beauty, did age while he was asleep. He woke up looking like an old man. The last example of a literary character who slept for a very long time is Captain America. Captain America was a fictional World War II hero who super-human strength. He crashes an airplane into the Arctic in order to save the world from Red Skull and his Hydra army. He gets knocked out during the crash and is then frozen in the ice and is found seventy years later. He was still alive after he defrosted and showed no signs of aging. Extended sleeping is definitely a fictional trait that can not possibly happen in real life.
In “Looking Backward” it tells the reader that Julian West, the main character, did not age at all. When he awoke he was still thirty years old, the same age he was when he fell asleep one-hundred and thirteen years ago. Again, not only is it not possible to sleep for that length of time, but it is also impossible to not age while sleeping.