Utopian/Dystopian Fictions and their Audience


The following text set is for English 10th grade classes wherein the unit focus is, Utopian/Dystopian Fictions and their audience.  These selected texts will be matched to specific groups of students, (Regular, Honors, and AP), and based on their reading abilities, (reading below, on, or above grade level).  These texts would be provided to students for use or as examples for independent reading and research activities.  The students will read independently and do a R.A.F.T. (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) chart that they will discuss in heterogeneous groups or as a class.  Students will choose and read a Utopian/Dystopian novel.  Then they will choose a character and write a report on how their character’s life in the dystopian/utopian world of the book or play.  They will then research similarities/dissimilarities between the novel’s world and their own to add to their report.  Finally, they will present this report orally to the class.  The class would then write a reflection on what world they liked/disliked and why.  For honors and AP, students will also investigate audience reaction, both their personal reaction and the author’s initial and/or current audience reception.  AP students would also pair their independent reading with research on the author, investigating the author’s vision of the future and speculate on the following:  Why did the author choose to envision it that way? How did this attract/detract readers?  Are any predictions correct or existing now?

I chose dystopian/utopian books as I wanted students to analyze their cultural and social function in literature—how their predictions for the future impact their audience. The societal issues explored in this text set may persuade or dissuade their audiences into hoping or fearing for their society.  These texts explore themes of global warming, race, social-economic inequality, materialism, strife, hope, and resilience—universal themes that I believe will engage students into examining their own life and future.  The text set would be used in combination with instruction on audience analysis through lectures, digital media resources, and group projects.

Description of Students

I have seen an upsurge of teen apocalyptic movies and would like students to understand that this is a trope seen throughout literature.  We seem always curious and dubious about our future.  The texts included here span throughout the centuries to offer students expansive views and worlds to explore.  The text set selections are suitable for secondary level classes (9th -12th grade).  I chose this text set in order to have protagonists that are as diverse as my students.  I chose these texts as I wanted to make sure that they were engaging enough to keep students reading and hopefully independently.  I tried to steer away from books with movies, however, some of the harder reads do have movies that may help students’ comprehension.  I chose a wide range of Flesch-Kincaid readability grades (5th grade to collegiate).  As this is either an independent or dependent reading, I wanted to make sure that the time spent in class would focus on either reading or instruction for the reading projects.  If I teach in a school with 90 minute classes, some time could be given to in-class reading.  If it is a 60-minute class, I would encourage students to read as much as possible outside of class time with scaffold direction based on the text they choose.

Targeted SOLs

10.4, 10.6, 10.8

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