Dystopian LiteratureI am teaching a themed unit on dystopian literature in my 6th and 8th grade Literature classes. The students will read four novels over the course of the year, identifying...

Dystopian Literature

I am teaching a themed unit on dystopian literature in my 6th and 8th grade Literature classes. The students will read four novels over the course of the year, identifying aspects of dystopia, and then will select a modern-day social issue and solve it through project-based learning.

Specifically, I am searching for good dystopian literature that touches on the theme but is also appropriate for their age level. The area in which I teach is fairly conservative. Thus far, I have selected the following titles:

6th: A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, Among the Hidden, Z for ZachariahThe Dark is Rising

8th: Hunger Games, I, Robot, The Time Machine, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies

I am looking for novels, short stories, poetry, and songs. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like your choices so far. You may also want to consider the following (along with most Ray Bradbury short stories):

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would add some short stories, such as just about anything by Ray Bradbury. "A Sound of Thunder" is fascinating. Of course, there is also Animal Farm and Anthem for the 8th graders. For the 6th graders, Haddix's Among the Hidden and the rest of the series is always popular. Don't forget that The Giver has two sequels.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that A Brave New World, Mockingjay, Catching Fire.

I must say that the answers that have been posted previously pretty much complete your list.

As for poetry:

"The Second Coming" -Yeats

"Dystopia" - Aminath Neena

"The Unknown Citizen"- Auden

"anyone lived in a pretty how town"- Cummings

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some I might recommend are Wyndham's The Chrysalids and The Triffids. The second of these is my favorite though it usually takes second place as a book to study: the opening is chilling and has proven to be innovative. I might recommend We by Soviet writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, but you would have to screen it carefully to confirm there are no age-inappropriate references to adult intimacy (it's been a while since I've read it ...). It has been overlooked for years, but I'm delighted to find it is now on at least some school reading lists.

lfawley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the eigth graders, I would look at "Harrison Bergeron" (or anything by Vonnegut, really)

What about CS Lewis' Perelandra series as another possibility?

Frank Herbert's "Dune" series also comes to mind!

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given the conservative restraints in which you are working and the age of your students, I would wholeheartedly recommend The Giver and the two sequel novels that follow it. They are an excellent collection of books that raise serious issues concerning dystopian fiction such as the limits placed upon humanity in exchange for security and stability. You might like to use "The Lottery" as a short story.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that any of Bradbury's short stories would really work well.  I would recommend "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "The Veldt" in particular.  I think that both of those point to the dangers of technology which is an issue that should be easy to get students to care about.