Name______Date______Period______Dystopian Literature Guide KEY *Review class notes, text annotations, and practice activities.
1. What is a dystopia? -A dystopia is a fictional, imagined universe in which characters face societal, technological, moral, or political control- often an exaggerated worst case scenario.
2. What are some key elements of dystopian fiction? -Dystopian text is set in the future, does not include supernatural or fantastical elements (like fantasy would), characters face systematic (political/societal) obstacles, and respond to those challenges in positive or negative ways.
3. What is social commentary? -Social commentary makes criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system.
4. What is an archetype? -An archetype is a universally understood character, symbol, term, or situation that is recurrent and often imitated .
5. What are some examples of dystopian character archetypes? *You will not be asked to list these, rather identify them in a text. -Protagonist (hero/antihero) -Villain -Mentor -Sidekick -Scapegoat -Mother figure
6. What are some attributes of a dystopian protagonist? -Often feels trapped and is struggling to escape/rebel -Sometimes outcasted -Questions the existing social and political systems -Believes there are flaws within society -Helps to reader/audience recognize the negative aspects of the dystopian world
-Students should review notes on internal citations and quote integration. Students should be able to properly cite and integrate textual evidence (see examples below).
*In a Cold Reading: (These are not to memorize! These are examples- you may practice in your IR novels or review annotations/activities from in-class texts)
-Students should be able to identify theme(s) in a dystopian text, support that claim with textual evidence, and make inferences about the significance of the theme.
Example- A prevalent theme in Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” is that often, when someone is an immigrant or outsider, they face a struggle to adapt. Margot, who remembers in the sun, comes to Venus from Earth. It is difficult for her to be integrated into an already existing community. Because the children “had been on Venus all their lives,” they have “long since forgotten the color and the heat of the [sun]” (2). This speaks to a larger societal issue- Bradbury is teaching readers to be more tolerant of immigrants, newcomers, and those with distinct differences within a community.
-Students should be able to make claims regarding character complexity of dystopian archetypal characters, support that claim with textual evidence, and make inferences about the significance of those character details.
Example- In the short story “All Summer in a Day,” William serves as the dystopian villain. Prior to the sun coming out for the first time in seven years, William and his classmates “surged about [Margot], caught her up and bore her… back into… a closet, where they slammed and locked the door” (3). As the leader of the other schoolchildren, he manipulates them to pray on Margot’s weaknesses as well. As the villain, William takes from Margot what is most precious to her, and her only source of motivation- the sun.
-Students should be able to identify dystopian attributes in a text, support those claims with evidence, and analyze the significance of those dystopian elements.
Example- “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury, is set on the planet Venus, in an imagined futuristic dystopian world. On Venus, rain continues for seven years straight, with “thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain” (1). This setting exemplifies the dystopian ideal of a worst-case scenario, forcing the characters to endure constant storms and remain in an underground city. This directly connects to Margot’s internal conflict- her hatred for Venus’s conditions and hope to return to Earth.
-Students should be able to identify a dystopian protagonist within a text, support this idea with textual evidence, and explain and analyze what classifies this character as a protagonist.
Example- In the short story “All Summer in a Day,” Margot serves as the dystopian protagonist, as she is completely outcasted from her peers. She secludes herself from the other children, “[stands] separate,” and “play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the underground city” (2). Margot, as well as the other school children, know that she is different. It is only sunshine that brings her joy and holds her interest, therefore playing and socializing with the other school children is not a priority for her. As she is distant from her peers, and wishes to return to Earth where she can experience the sun, she also feels trapped and is struggling to escape.
-Students should be able to identify explain how authors use narrative craft techniques to reach writing goals.
Example-In the exposition of his short story “All Summer in a Day,” Ray Bradbury uses several pieces of figurative language to establish the setting. He describes, “the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the island” (1). In using metaphors to compare the extreme weather patterns to a pounding drum, a shower, and a tidal wave, the author paints a picture in the reader’s mind of the setting on Venus, as well as establishes a melancholy mood.