Topic: Dystopian Fiction

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ELA High School

Dystopia and 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Gender Fiction Dystopian Fiction

"The Handmaid’s Tale" is a dystopian novel set in a near future version of America. It was published in 1985, and tells the story of Offred, a woman living in the theocratic, authoritarian country of Gilead. More than 30 years after publication, a TV adaptation has sparked renewed interest in the novel. Listen to hear three journalists discuss connections between Offred’s story and contemporary American society.

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ELA Middle School

Waterless Worlds is the New Dystopia

Literature Environment Climate Change Dystopian Fiction

News about water shortages and drought have inspired a new trend in dystopian books and movies. Water scarcity has been a source of conflict in places like Africa and the Middle East, but also in America’s own history. Some believe that water scarcity is only going to get worse in the decades to come. This audio story features writers and filmmakers who have imagined what life might be like in a waterless world. Listen to learn more about what these storytellers imagine, and what audience they hope to reach.

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Atwood

ELA High School

Genres of Margaret Atwood

Fiction Fantasy Dystopian Fiction

The Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has published collections of poetry, short stories and essays, books for children, numerous novellas, and—the works for which she is best known—fifteen novels. Atwood’s early novels were mainly works of realistic literary fiction, the sort of novels that literary critics and academics distinguish from “genre fiction” such as mysteries and thrillers, romance novels, and science fiction and fantasy novels. Atwood has written several novels that some critics and readers would call science fiction, but which she prefers to call “speculative fiction.” In this audio story, Atwood discusses her most recent novel, "The Heart Goes Last" and explains why she feels this is not a time for realistic fiction.

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Hunger games and reality

ELA Middle School

'Hunger Games' and Reality

Civics/Government Fiction Dystopian Fiction

In Suzanne Collins’ "The Hunger Games" Trilogy, an all powerful Capital controls and exploits the districts of Panem for resources. The inequality and concentration of power in Panem has struck a nerve for readers, reflecting on their lives and their governments. Heroine Katniss Everdeen has become a symbol of resistance adopted by political parties and protest movements across the globe. Why and how does this dystopian novel reflect the real world? Listen to learn more about the link between “The Hunger Games” and our world today.

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Animal farm and satire

ELA High School

'Animal Farm' and Satire

Civics/Government Politics World History II Culture Communism Satire World Literature Dystopian Fiction Reform

George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” was published in 1945. Its message was explicitly political as a statement and a satire against Stalinism and the dictatorial socialism of the Soviet Union. Understanding this allegory gives deeper meaning to the talking animals who take control of their farm. Seventy years later, does this message of failed revolution resonate in a communist nation with a similar revolution and trajectory? Listen to learn how a later theatrical adaptation of the book is being understood in modern day China.

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