The Popularity of Dystopian Literature

This week we begin the challenging task of creating a sustained research project that
builds on what we have learned this year about research and literature. This
semester a research essay will be due. At the end of the process, you will be
presenting your research to your classmates, and hopefully faculty from LMGHS. The
end product will be a college level research essay that could be turned by any college
student in their first year of college.
TASK: (Research Essay). Now that we have written a research essay about NYC, I
would like us to turn our research skills towards literature. Your assignment is as
follows: Using 1984 and Waiting for Godot as anchor texts, please research one of the
following topics
Topic Options: (choose one of the following)
1) The Popularity of Dystopian Literature. (Q: Why is dystopian literature so
popular and why has a novel like 1984 become such a part of our culture that is
referenced even now when discussing government spying or terrorist groups
like ISIS?)
2) History and Literature. (Q: Why does it seem like dystopian literature and
absurdist drama are both direct responses to historical events and how does
this manifest itself in the novels we have read so far? Think about the influence
of historical events like World War II and 9/11 on our society and discuss how
this may lead to the creation of literature that responds to these events.
3) Fear and Dystopian Literature. (Q: There is a large psychological component
to living in a dystopian society. How does fear seem to be such a key factor in
controlling human beings and how do we see this in the novels we have read?)
4) Comparing and Contrasting Novels (Q: Many of us have already read quite a
few dystopian novels, such as The Hunger Games and Killer of Enemies. How
does Orwell compare and contrast to other dystopian novels? What makes 1984
so unique? Or is not as unique as it seems?
5) The Life of a Writer – A Case Study. (Q: How can we make connections
between an author’s life and the literature they produce? How can we see, for
example Orwell and Beckett’s life reflected in their work?z

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