How do I write a paper on a dystopian society or dystopian societies?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To write a paper on dystopian societies, you need to first define a dystopian society and then give an example.

You need to define dystopia, either with your own definition or one you get from a secondary source.  Basically, a dystopia is a society where everything is supposed to be perfect, but it turns out to be terrible.

You might also include the origins of the term.  The word “dystopia” is derived from “utopia,” which means a perfect world.  It came from Thomas More’s book of the same name, published in 1516 (eNotes).  In the nineteenth century, several groups tried to create a perfect world (  This is where the concept of a dystopia began.

A dystopia is a world that its originators thought was prefect, but in order to create perfection there is usually a lot of control.  When you control everything so carefully, a totalitarian regime often results.  Dystopias usually involve human rights violations, harsh conditions, and strict rules.  These are the conditions that make the words dystopia.

Your examples of dystopias might come from history, such as Hitler's Nazi germany, or from literature, such as Orwell'll Animal Farm.  There is no shortage of dystopias in literature, and providing summaries of some of these and how they controlled the people would be an excellent inclusion in your paper.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To write about a dystopian society, it is useful to start out with a clear definition. This term refers to an imagined society in which oppression, control, and negativity dominate.

To clarify your definition, you can talk about the characteristics of this type of society. Some characteristics include the widespread use of propaganda and surveillance to control the people who live there. Another characteristic is the type of government. Many dystopian governments, for instance, are totalitarian, meaning that they are completely centralized and control every aspect of a citizen's life. For more characteristics, see the reference link provided.

Next, provide some examples of a dystopian society. You might include some literary examples, like 1984 by George Orwell or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Another idea is to compare and contrast some of the elements of these novels, such as the protagonist, the citizens' standard of living, and the type of control prevalent in this society. 

As a final thought, think about real-life dystopias. Looking through history, there are lots of examples, like Joseph Stalin's rule in Russia. Think about the factors that enabled a man like Stalin to come to power and those that allowed his rule to continue. Are there any similarities between real-life examples and those in literature?