To echo what has been previously stated, I have found that when students can relate the material and ideas to their own lives, there are some lively discussions. For example, in teaching "Lord of the Flies," students are given a writing prompt that asks them to imagine they are stranded in our high school without adults and supervision for a specified amount of time. After allowing students time to write and therefore, compose their thoughts and ideas, a discussion follows.
Another option is to ask the students how they would act if they were part of the setting. For example, for Romeo and Juliet, we have had discussions surrounding the question, "If you were friends with Juliet's parents, what advice would you give them regarding Juliet's decision to marry Romeo?" Here, the students take on the role of adults/parents, which makes for a discussion on point of view. All opinions and scenarios are accepted without judgement by students or teacher.