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This Perfect Day

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This Perfect Day is probably Ira Levin's greatest work of his

career. Levin's work, despite being written in 1970, is very

plausible having realistic technology, such as scanners and

computers which watch over the entire family, the entire

population of the world. This novel could be used to show

the dangers of a Utopian society as well as being full of

anti-Communist and anti-racist sentiment. This Perfect Day

also displays the feeling that communist and segregated

institutions can be defeated, as the protagonist Chip over

powers the "family" and their vile Uni Comp as well as rising

above the segregated community he reaches after fleeing the


This work could best be placed in an area of the curriculum

where it is the students job to learn that although everyone

might not be equal, nor should they be, they are still human

and deserve to be treated with the respect and kindness we

would expect to be treated with. This work could be used in

conjunction with other works of literature that display the

same ideals against communism and discrimination as well as

a lack of compassion for others. Other works that could be

used in cohorts with Levin's This Perfect Day, are

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut and even the

Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Both of these

novels show the dangers of trying to create a Utopian

society and the chaos it causes. In Harrison Bergeron,

handicapping has become an American institution and it is

the governments responsibility to make sure that everyone is

equal in every way which ends up causing chaos and

rebellion. The Handmaid's Tale shows the dangers of when

an extreme group takes over the United States after a

nuclear holocaust, with women being placed in a submissive

role to men, only being used to reproduce. This Perfect

Day could also be used in a section with novels such as

Uncle Tom's Cabin which portray the evils of racism and

discrimination, just as the land where Chip ends up after

escaping the family, is very racist and segregated. He is

forced to endure the taunts and tortures of the folks who had

fought Uni from the beginning, yet he rises above these

bounds to return and destroy Uni Comp, thereby destroying

the family.

This Perfect Day begins in a land that has been unified

under, Uni Comp, a large computer that monitors all family

activities and controls any portions of their daily lives lies

deep in a cave below the Swiss Alps. The computer decides

on the work, residence, consumption of goods, whether they

will marry and if so whether they will have children.

Promotion of the family's good is the main importance in any

member's life. "Losing's the same as winning" is one of the

phrases taught to small children. "Hate" and "fight" are dirty

words while fuck is not. Genetics has progressed to the

point where skin color is universally tan, while body shape is

unisex, and facial features are programmed, with most

members containing brown slanted eyes. The family is trying

to genetically remove such undesired elements of life such as

aggressiveness and egotism while implanting docility and

loving kindness in their place. While searching for the genetic

basis to these undesired elements, Uni Comp subjects every

member of the family to monthly treatments which contain

vaccines, contraceptives, and tranquilizers, as well as some

substance that reduces one's sex drive down to only being

able to perform on Saturday night. All of this is watched

over by one's counselor, one who watches the members

individual mental health very closely.

The novel starts early in the life of a boy named Chip, or Li

RM35M4419, his official 'family' given name. His

grandfather, Papa Jan had given him the nickname Chip.

Chip had always though his grandfather was a bit eccentric,

twisting words and displaying feelings that did not fall in line

with the rest of the 'family's', Chip thought that his

grandfather might be a sick member. On a family trip to the

biggest tourist attraction on the planet, Uni Comp, Papa Jan

leads Chip downstairs, without touching scanners as they

pass, to a large cold room filled with large black boxes.




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