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Dystopia Mania

Elements of Dystopian Novels

Elements of Dystopian Novels:                                 

  • intense or extreme social control (with emphasis on the negative effects of the control)
  • satires or makes fun of a utopian society
  • concerned with politics and culture
  • offers a warning of what will happen under certain circumstances
  • author examines "poverty, squalor, or oppression"
  • elements of control and lack of freedoms
  • restricted information
  • humanity taken away (dehumanized)
  • illustion of a utopia or perfect world

Elements of a Dystopian Hero:

  • helps the reader to understand the problems with the society
  • discovers secret, restricted, or hidden information which causes them to act
  • feels trapped or isolated physically and/or socially
  • takes a risk or is a rebel
  • insider to their society

End of the World Literature

Utopia: the perfect society; an imangined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. This genre of literature explores social and political structure.

Dystopia: an imperfect society; an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. This genre of literature explores social and political structure.

Apocalypse/Post-Apocalypse: This genre deals with the threat to civilization after a world altering disaster such as nuclear war, pandemic, climate change, etc and how humans overcome the event.

Ectopian: a world that revolves around environmental conservation or destruction.


Elements of a Dystopia

  1. The People are Restricted from Independent Thought and Free Will:  Free will is the power of acting without the constraint or the ability to act on one's own decisions.
  2. The Government in Control is Often Oppressive:  An oppressive government is often overbearing, has constant surveillance on its people, creates curfews, has military control, and suppresses its people.
  3. The Setting is Often Futuristic or in a Fictional Universe:  The setting is often in the future or in a fictional universe after a massive war or catastrophe. This helps to create the background for the appropriation of the supposed utopia on the society.
  4. Contains Elements of Communism, Conformity, and ‘Equality’:  The people are made to be similar and conform to the rules and expectations that the government set forth.
  5. The Government Portrays Their Society as an Utopia:  They use propaganda and subtle manipulation to trick their people into believing things are perfect.
  6. The Protagonist Wishes to Restore the People to Conventional Life:  The main character has a moment of clarity and realizes how poor life is without choices. Therefore, they try to make a change to 'free the people'.


Can't get enough Dystopias? Here are some suggestions!


Standards addressed

  • Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.