Utopias and Dystopias

Utopias and Dystopias
1 / 32
Slide 1: Slide
EngelsMiddelbare schoolhavoLeerjaar 5

This lesson contains 32 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 5 videos.

Items in this lesson

Utopias and Dystopias

Slide 1 - Slide

Purpose of this lesson
  • This lesson is an introduction to "The Handmaid's Tale"
At the end of this lesson, you will understand:
  • the similarities and differences between a utopia and a dystopia
  • the characteristics of dystopian fiction
  • why "The Handmaid's Tale" is dystopian

Slide 2 - Slide

What does the word "Utopia" mean to you?

Slide 3 - Open question

What does the word "dystopia" mean to you?

Slide 4 - Open question

Thomas More’s “Utopia”
  • Lawyer, sheriff, statesman
  • Friend of Erasmus
  • 1516 publishes Utopia
  • A story about travel to an ideal society
  • Not the first but the definition of the genre
  • A commentary on society

Slide 5 - Slide

  • .....
  • .....
  • Eutopia
  • Topos = place
  • Eu = good
  • “the perfect society” →
  • ....
  • ....
  • Outopia
  • Topos = place
  • Ou = not
  • “does not exist”/“nowhere”
A Meaningful pun

Slide 6 - Slide

A utopia cannot be completely different from our society, it must resemble it, and appear to be a progression from or alternative version of our current society.

Slide 7 - Slide

Write a one-sentence description of your own personal utopia

Slide 8 - Open question

watch the following video
Decide if it is a utopia or a dystopia.

Slide 9 - Slide

Slide 10 - Video

Is a utopia-for-all possible? Explain

Slide 11 - Slide

dys=bad + topos=place

Slide 12 - Slide

Slide 13 - Slide

New class rules
1. No one will be allowed to talk in class at all without my permission. In fact, talking will be very limited from now on

2. You will instead communicate via an online chat. ONLY in the computer lab. I will have access to everything you say in your chats. No other form of communication will be allowed in class unless it is with me or is conducted with my permission 

Slide 14 - Slide

3. The class will be divided into 3 groups based on grades. There will be no communication allowed outside of these groups in class.

4. We will no longer talk about the past. We will be free from the burden of thinking about the past. We will only concentrate on the present and future

5. You may not discuss your family, interests or cultural background. Our classroom culture is more important.
6. Talking about Politics is absolutely forbidden!

Slide 15 - Slide


Slide 16 - Video

What similarities do you see between the rules posted on the board and the movie clips?

Slide 17 - Open question

How would you feel if rules like these were really implemented? How would these rules affect the classroom atmosphere?

Slide 18 - Open question

What are some rules we have in our society or in our school that limit personal freedom in some way?

Slide 19 - Open question

Why are these rules in place? When is it okay to limit personal freedom for the benefit of society?

Slide 20 - Open question

Techniques used in dystopian literature 
During the following video take notes on:
- The techniques mentioned
- A historical moment when looking for a utopia has turned into a dystopia
- Other techniques, you see in the video, that define dystopian literature? For example, isolation etc.

Slide 21 - Slide


Slide 22 - Video

Dystopian society in fiction
  • Citizens' lives are closely controlled by a government or corporation by means of technology, religion or ideology.
  •  The truth about the world is kept from most members of society
  • Citizens must conform to the rules.  Individuality is a bad thing. 
  • Citizens are dehumanized.
  • The society presents the illusion of a utopia to its citizens.
  • The main character in dystopian works is one of the few to see the truth.

Slide 23 - Slide

Slide 24 - Video

Name Dystopian books, films, games, tv shows you are aware of.

Slide 25 - Mind map

Dystopian fiction criticizes
The Seven Deadly Sins

Slide 26 - Slide

What were the dystopian works you know criticizing?

Slide 27 - Open question

Slide 28 - Video

Margaret Atwood
Birth Date : November 18, 1939 (age 80)
Education: Radcliffe College, Victoria College, Harvard University
Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 

Slide 29 - Slide

  • The near future
  • Republic of Gilead -> a Christian totalitarian society that has replaced the United States
  • A city in what used to be New England
 “You often hear in North America, "It can't happen here," but it happened quite early on. The Puritans banished people who didn't agree with them, so we would be rather smug to assume that the seeds are not there. That's why I set the book in Cambridge.”​

Slide 30 - Slide

  • Offred​
  • Moira​ 
  • The Commander​ 
  • The Commander’s Wife​ 
  • Luke​ 
  • The Daughter​ 
  • Janine​ 
  • Ofglen​
  • Aunts Lucy, Elizabeth, Sara, Lydia, Helena​ 
  • Rita and Cora​ 
  • Nick​

Slide 31 - Slide

Reading Schedule
Read until
Aug 31
Ch. V (p. 73)
Sep 7
Ch VIII (p. 113) 
Sep 14
Ch X (p. 153) 
Sep 21
Ch XII (p. 203) 
Sep 28
Ch XIV (p. 272) 
Oct 5 
Finish book

Slide 32 - Slide