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Dystopian Literature for Young Adults: Home

What is Dystopian Literature

(A direct quote from Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics, on the Read, Write, Think website of the National Counci of Teachers of English)

Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics

Utopia: A place, state, or condition that is ideally perfect in respect of politics, laws, customs, and conditions.

Dystopia: A futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system.

Characteristics of a Dystopian Society

• Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.

• Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted.

• A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society.

• Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance.

• Citizens have a fear of the outside world.

• Citizens live in a dehumanized state.

• The natural world is banished and distrusted.

• Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are bad.

• The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world.


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Susan Merrick
ACS Egham International School
Egham, Surrey
England TW20 0HS
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