V4 - Literature lesson 5: Dystopian novels

Literature lesson 5: 
Dystopian novels
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Slide 1: Slide
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This lesson contains 14 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 2 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 30 min

Items in this lesson

Literature lesson 5: 
Dystopian novels

Slide 1 - Slide

What is the world coming to?
  • The big question of dystopian literature.
  • Reaction to and criticism of your current societies & politics, and where it might be headed in the future.
  • A dystopian work is a reflection of the society/political situation at the time of writing. A book from the 1950s can be radically different from a work of the 2000s.
  • Older works focused more on public mistrust and suspicion, a police state, oppression by a 1 party government. 
  • Modern works focus more on global warming, social media, inequalities (wealth, race, sex), religious extremism, pandemics,  government power
  • Yet some works written over half a century ago are still relevant today, such as 1984  or Brave New World

Slide 2 - Slide

Slide 3 - Slide

Genre of variety
As you can see, there is a great variety of dystopian worlds
and stories in our popular culture, from books to games. 
A lot of them focus on:
  • oppression (religion, government, capitalism)
  • (self-)destruction of humanity (nuclear, scientific, alien invasion)
  • technology run amok (robot overlords, life is a simulation)
  • pandemic catastrophe (incurable diseases, experimentation)
  • wasteland post-apocalypse (survivalist, scarcity of resources)

Slide 4 - Slide

Can you name any dystopian

Slide 5 - Mind map

Utopia vs Dystopia
Dystopia: an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives. 
Utopia: an imagined place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions.

Slide 6 - Slide


Slide 7 - Video

What does the word dystopia literally mean?
distant place
not-good place
non-existent place

Slide 8 - Quiz

What was disturbing about the future world of "The Time Machine"?
Economic inequality resulting in separate species of humans
A nuclear apocalypse rendering the world barely habitable
Time travel destroying the fabric of the universe

Slide 9 - Quiz

Which of these events was NOT a major influence on dystopian fiction?
The Industrial Revolution
The Roaring Twenties
Communism in Soviet Russia

Slide 10 - Quiz

What was Orwell trying to critique in his novel "1984"?

Slide 11 - Quiz

What was a major difference between dystopian fiction of the 19th century and the 20th?

Slide 12 - Open question

Assignment: The Pedestrian - Ray Bradbury
In your reader you can find the short story The Pedestrian. For next lesson, read the story and answer these 7 questions about it. Use the audiobook on the next slide to support your reading:

  1. Describe the setting of the story (year, type of community, etc.).
  2. What does Mr. Mead “whisper to every house”? Why do you think he’s whispering these certain phrases to the houses?
  3. Do you think Mr. Mead fits into this society? Why or why not? Explain the possible reasons. 
  4. Explain why the police car might state “no profession” after Mr. Mead says that he is a writer.
  5. Mr. Mead is taken to the “Psychiatric Centre for Research on Regressive Tendencies.” What do you think this place is for? Why would he be taken there just for walking down the street?
  6. What might have happened to this society that there would be no crime, but that walking would be considered criminal behavior?
  7. What do you think Bradbury’s purpose was in writing this story? How does he achieve this purpose through his writing? Cite details from the story to support your answer. 

Slide 13 - Slide

Slide 14 - Video