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What Is Dystopian Literature? by Arik Durfee

This presentation chronicles the development of dystopian literature and describes some of its main characteristics. Adapted from Arik Durfee
by

Mr. Laffin

on 2 May 2016

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Transcript of What Is Dystopian Literature? by Arik Durfee

Welcome to the future!
Imagine a world where…
Or where…
Love has been diagnosed as a disease!

Or where…
...the beautiful have to wear disguises...
Welcome to the world of dystopian literature!
dystopian novels have become
one of the most popular/successful trends
in young-adult literature.
Dystopian literature is not new.
One of the earliest well-known examples
depicts a distant future
the human race has evolved into two species
one that herds the other like livestock.
The Time Machine was published in 1895.
Written by a pro-slavery author
in 1835
depicted a dystopian future
where African Americans and white people
intermarried and had children together
Published in 1993
a story about a “perfect” society
all important choices are made for you
so you don’t make the wrong choices
One of the first dystopian novels
written specifically for young adults.

The Giver
opened a floodgate.
Most dystopian stories share several common elements or ideas.
live under harsh control
usually the control of
government
a corporation,
technology,
or religious/philosophical ideas.
The truth about the world
is often kept a secret
from most of society.
In general, fictional dystopian societies usually form in one of two ways:
Society adopts a new form of government
or gives power to a corporation/ technology
or system of belief,
in order to create a better world
or to solve real problems
and create a perfect society.
This is one of Mr. Laffin's favorite books!!!
Other dystopias are created after an apocalypse
a huge disaster
Those left alive are forced
to adopt extreme policies
in order to ensure humanity’s survival.
The Importance of Humanity
Most dystopian stories share common themes, or messages. And you'll notice that how the dystopia was originally created usually affects the eventual theme of the story.
The Danger of Technology
The Danger of a Particular Policy
The Danger of Human Nature
The Danger of Allowing One Group to Have Too Much Power
The Importance of Knowledge and Truth
often start with idea of perfect society
known as a UTOPIA.
As the story progresses,
reader/characters both realize something
this fictional world is not perfect.
an imaginary futuristic world
society lives under oppression and control
a totalitarian government (strict control)
a repressive society (control by force)
a force of technology
or a corrupt business corporation.
Often focuses on a current
social,
technological,
or governmental trend
and shows us what would happen
if this trend were taken way too far.
Imagines these worlds basically as
an exaggerated “worst-case scenario”
Allows authors to make a criticism
of a trend in our real world.
Citizens are expected to conform strictly
to society’s expectations
Individuality
is seen as a bad thing.
The society
tends to dehumanize its citizens
Saw many more dystopian novels:
1. A Clockwork Orange
2. Logan’s Run
3. The Running Man
4. V for Vendetta
Every year, the government selects twenty-four teenagers
Dystopian literature became a powerful way
for American writers to criticize
communism and socialism.
These decades produced
some of the most important dystopian classics:
and throws them into an arena to fight to the death.
But thankfully a cure has been found, and all young people are required to get this cure when they turn eighteen.
...and the strong have to be weighed down with lead weights.
The Danger of Desensitization
The History of Dystopian Fiction
Common Story Elements
There is often an illusion
of a perfect society
Oppressors truly believe
that they are doing what’s right
Propaganda
False or exaggerated statements
Videos, posters, news reports, speeches
meant to keep the citizens under control
basically, "brainwashing" the citizens
The main character is often
one of the few/the first
to question the goodness of their society.
recognizes how wrong their society is
The protagonist's perspective helps readers recognize
the negative aspects of our own world
Creating a Dystopia
Subjects of
Dystopian Stories
The Danger of a Particular Type of Government
The Importance of Free Will and Individuality
The story sometimes takes place
after an apocalyptic event
that ends the world as we know it
and gives rise to a new world
and a new way of life.
They try to create a perfect world
by eliminating all pain.

BUT
They try to create a perfect society
by making everyone carefree and beautiful.

Can you live a carefree life and also be free to think and feel what you want?
Society has decided to keep the peace
by burning books and the houses that store them
and sometimes the people that read them.

Would getting rid of all books (and knowledge) really keep the peace?
The government, technology, or corporation
given control after the disaster
Usually begins with
a genuine desire to save the world
It ends up
threatening humanity's survival.
A nuclear war
forces survivors underground for hundreds of years.
To maintain order,
the leaders choose everyone's jobs
make sure everyone has enough.
Those in charge didn't bother to remember
how to get out of Ember.

What happens when the supplies and electricity run out?
Natural disasters and wars destroy most of the world
Country of Panem rises from the ashes.
They try to create a perfect society by
dividing the country into 13 districts (plus a Capitol)
every district specializes in a specific industry
It works out great until
the citizens realize that people in the Capitol
don't actually do anything
live off of what the the districts produce.
A rebellion against the Capitol leads to this dystopia becoming even more cruel and unjust.
We all love the internet and texting on our cell phones.

Would it be cool if our brains were directly connected to the internet?
What kinds of problems could this level of "connectedness" cause?
But what if the government monitored everything we did and said and punished individualism as a crime?

But what kind of problems would it cause if the government went so far as to make it illegal to have any more than two children?

But what terrible things might some teenagers do if there were no adults around to enforce any kind of rules?
Wouldn't it be convenient if you could make all your purchases and keep track of all your personal information with a simple tattoo on your arm?
But what problems could come with giving every piece of personal information about yourself to one business corporation?
Wouldn't it be intense to watch a reality TV show where real people try to hunt one another down and kill each other?
But what would that kind of entertainment do to our humanity?
Wouldn't life be easier and less painful without sad memories and difficult truths?

But what problems could come if most people in society knew nothing about the past?
Wouldn't life be better and happier if everyone were equally beautiful?
.
But would you be okay with giving up your individuality?
If humanity's very survival were threatened, we would do just about anything to guarantee our own survival.
But are there some lines we shouldn't cross, some things we shouldn't do, even in the name of saving the world?
Is this a perfect world?
Or a dystopia?
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
Remember, themes are what is said about...
A
DYSTOPIA
is
DYSTOPIAS START AS
DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE'S FOCUS
H.G. WELLS' "THE TIME MACHINE"
"A SOJOURN IN THE CITY OF AMALGAMATION"
THE 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s
THE NEXT FEW DECADES
LOIS LOWRY'S "THE GIVER"
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE 2000s
Here are just a FEW examples of dystopian literature for young-adults (that's YOU!)
***These are listed on the last page of your packet***
CITIZENS
THE TRUTH
A NEW WORLD
CONFORMITY IS KEY
IT'S ALL AN ILLUSION
THE PROTAGONIST
NEW GOVERNMENT = PROBLEMS SOLVED
LOIS LOWRY'S "THE GIVER"
UGLIES
If it's written in
BLUE
it's notes for
YOU!!!
FAHRENHEIT 451
DISASTER STRIKES
AFTER THE APOCALYPSE
THE CITY OF EMBER
THE HUNGER GAMES
by eliminating all sources of pain, do we also eliminate all sources of goodness and happiness?
If it's written in
GREEN
it should just be
SEEN!!!
A WORD OF CAUTION!!!
The following examples are
subjects
.
To be a theme, we must
know what is being said
ABOUT
the subject.
In an effort to make everyone equal...
1.
2.
3.
4.
Full transcript