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8 Dystopian Novels for the Classroom

Maturity of the students as well as their comfort level (and that of their parents when necessary) should be taken into account. Dystopian literature, by nature, is disconcerting and can have a negative effect on the mind of the reader; this suggests that close guidance for students engaging in exploration of these books is very important.

1984 by George Orwell
Themes:            Governmental control; monitoring
Best For:           Middle or High school students.

Dystopian Novels for the Classroom

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Themes:            Uniformity; lack of individuality
Best For:           advanced Middle or High school students.

The Children of Men by PD James
Themes:            Corrupt authority
Best For:           advanced High school students with close guidance.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Themes:            Futuristic violence; authoritarianism
Best For:           advanced High school students with close guidance.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Themes:            Censorship; Book-burning; Preserving humanity
Best For:           Middle and High school students. All levels benefit.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Themes:            Children forming their own dystopian society; civilization
Best For:           advanced Middle or High school students.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Themes:            Religion; Feminism; Taking power from women
Best For:           advanced High school students, especially AP classes.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Themes:            Sacrifice; Government corruption; Reality tv/voyeurism; Death
Best For:           advanced Middle or High school students.

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About the author: Punita Chhabra

Punita Chhabra is a middle school teacher with a Masters in Secondary Education. She is also a writer and a fan of uncomfortably spicy Thai food. She founded Teacher Zen out of the need for a platform to write about her quest for balance and success as in education. She likes all kinds of music, a good sci-fi book, and shoes. Read more about her here.

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