Dystopian Literature - EdCafe Schedule - Fall 2012

Wednesday, Oct 3

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Session 1

Who deemed their society perfect and who agreed to it? (Dan)

surveillance as fear tactic - is it just a threat?

How does being under constant surveillance affect the character? (Anthony)

being under surveillance can make you crazy and you have to bottle up all you have inside

Humans are being created by the government, how does this relate to real life cloning? Is this ethical? (kyle)

cloning is not ethical - it takes away the individualism

How do flashbacks affect the story? What character changes happen as they age? (Mark)

in every book there is some sort of flashback - shows how a character used to be before life changing event and can compare to present day and how they changed - what is the role of hope in control

How does politcal control affect society? What things should the government have control over and why? (Steph)

the control of information by the government affects society and how people think and act and behave - the citizens don’t understand what they’re missing

Session 2

How does classical conditioning affect the society in BNW (Merry)

using classical conditioning enforces what they love and hate in society

What level of influence do other characters in the same society as the main character in your novel have?

they’re not influenced by others - influenced by other when they’re taught their role

The idea of “double think.” What is it? Why is it used? How does it help the Party’s control of Oceania? (Desiree)

double think reassures society that the less they know the better off they are - convinces them that what they’re doing is right

What is the importance of names and identities?


the names of the handmaids depend on their Commander - they don’t have an identity

What do people’s reactions to the Two Minutes hate show about conformity and the society as a whole? 1984 (Carley)

talked about how everyone joins into 2min hate and it’s about conformity

Session 3

How does the alteration of the past affect Winston and the people of Oceania? Also how does Newspeak control the thoughts of people in 1984? (Jay)

the alteration affects them b/c they can rewrite to fix to their current needs - can make people believe whatever they want

What type of settings are we encountering on the first page of our books and why?


the first sentence has a very strong connection to how the book’s going to play out

What kind of world would we live in if we were constantly guarded and patrolled? (Tim)

how you have a plastic smile when authority is watching you - repetition affects morale

Are the people of BNW really happy or is there happiness a form of government control? (Kristy)

if people have always been told what happiness is, they don’t know what true happiness is

Friday, Oct 5

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Session 1

How do the scientists in BNW aim towards making people “like their inescapable social destiny”? (Zack)

in the book, the conditioning trains people to hate something specific - there are social norms here

The initial intention of science was to make life easier, has it done so or has science progressed to a point where society is essentially deteriorating?(Sean)  

history and Einstein regretted the atom bomb - camera surveillance & in reality you’re on camera too - conditioning embryos

Why does Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale ration her memories and thoughts? (Caroline)

Rationing allows her to relive them one at a time and make her new life bearable - make better in comparison

What work does conditioning do? Hypnopaedia? How would our society be different if we were educated by conditioning?


How classical conditioning leaves no room for individuality and everyone has their same beliefs

Session 2

How does the World State’s motto of Community, Identity, Stability control society? (Caitlyn)

Everyone has their identity in their society and keeps everything stable in the community

What risks are the characters beginning to take and why?  How are diaries dangerous?


how Winston takes a big risk thinking rebellious thoughts and a bigger one by writing about

Why do you think authors use different colors to represent the different characters? (Ashley)

an author uses color as an identifier - easier to remember a color and what it represents rather than a name / person and who they are / what they represent

Who has more influence in the controlling of a society? The people or the government? (Nate)

top-down control - govt is implanting ideas in people’s heads - people who go against it are shunned - BNW the gov controls people

Session 3

How do different forms of brainwashing affect society as a whole? Different castes in the system? (shelby)

social conformity control the individual in community

What effect does what we are taught when we are young, have on our interactions and relationships with others later on in life? (Morgan)

the environment that you grow up in shapes your life

What is the purpose of “Brave” being in the title? Do the people in this society even have an understanding of what bravery is?


‘brave’ meaning beauty and new form of something maybe with concept of being happy - ironic that everyone is ‘happy’

What is ironic in Oceania? And what is ironic about Goldstein and how does he relate to America? (Billy)

the irony of the govt establishments - ministries of truth, love, and peace - makes people believe they are the only right government

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Wednesday, Oct 10


Map Area (Audio)

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Session 1

What are the motif(s) in your book,and how do they affect the main character? (anthony)

In 1984, doublethink was used as a motif and Winston goes into really deep thought about doublethink being doublethink itself - Ford as a motif parallels the assembly line of people

How are women treated as prisoners in THT - Mark

Not only do the handmaids get treated as prisoners, they act as prisoners - follow the rules, but try to break out as well (Moira) what is success?

Doublethink and the American dream - Dan

doublethink is based on truth - messages of the American Dream can also be true but misleading

How is Winston’s mother a symbol in 1984? (Joe)

Inspecting the symbolism of Big Brother in 1984, what it represents and if there is a parallel to your book and our society.-Jay

symbol of Big Brother is always prevalent - the media and government contrast BNW

Session 2

Who is Henry Ford?


Ford was anti-Semitic - caste systems only like their caste - relates to his dividing political views

What motifs or symbols are in your book, and comment on a common theme? how could you develop this similarity into a thesis? (Eren)

posters and everything is labeled Victory - all comment on the real level of repression in society

In Brave New World the characters find happiness by taking soma. How does this relate to our society? When people resort to drugs/alcohol does that mean they live in a dystopia? (Kyle)

when people don’t have a voice or a way to show their ideas, they might resort to escapism - both ways to see in a dystopia where people cope with their unhappiness

DIscussing the theme/motif of psychological manipulation. How is it used to control society? In what ways does it work/fail? (Desiree)

psychological manipulation leaves no room for independent thought - can’t really rebel against Big Brother if you can’t conceptualize how

The value of women defined by reproduction (Molly)

if you value someone on one thing, you take away who they really are

Friday, Oct 12


Map Area (Audio)

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Session 1

How do you think the power of the narrative in a character who is supposed to be silent play a role in the novel? Caroline :)

the narrative v. silence is ironic - her speaking to the reader is a way of reaching out in the only way she can

Why doesn’t Linda want to be called “mother”? Explain the emotional disconnection. (Shelby)

even after 17 years in the savage reservation, Linda refuses to conform - can people really change from their childhood?

What is the author’s message about the world we live in? (Marissa)

in 1984 there is this theme of hopelessness - are we in a hopeless society? do you think society can / will change?

What role does Henry Ford play in BNW and why is he important to society? Zack

the role Henry Ford plays is a god-like figure - religion, time, government, beliefs, relief

How can mystery and paranoia play a role in Big Brothers control of Oceania? (Billy)

thoughts of Big Brother makes everyone artificial - rules individually in everyone’s mind

Session 2

Emotions and relationships corrupt stability, which is why relationships cannot be built. Why is stability needed? why does instability lead to war? (Jamie)

in society, maintaining equality makes it so no one disagrees

Alienation vs. conformity in BNW (Caitlyn)

the world today covers up the past - thinking about the past upsets people

How does the idea of having hope affect the characters in the Handmaid’s Tale? (Ashley)

the main character Offred voluntarily avoids hope to keep her sanity

What parallels can be made between societal enemies in 1984 and our society? What is the importance of an enemy in society? (Carley)

the common hatred of one person can unite people - making an ‘Other’ makes a group

How does pneumatic keep coming up in BNW?


pneumatic (air-filled) reflects both the ideals of their society and what they

Session 3

What are the effects of alienation in BNW? (Morgan)

Is Henry Ford really the basis of hypnopaedia or is happiness the basis? (Ashley G.)

Ford replaces the word Lord in Brave New World. How is faith in Ford different and similar to that of religion in the modern world? (Sean W.)

Why do the leaders of BNW let the Reservation exist? Does it have to exist for that society to function? Kristy

Impact of language on freedom and identity


Thursday, Oct 18


Map Area (Audio)

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Session 1

How far in life would be be able to get without having relationships with people? How beneficial are friendships in order to have a successful life? (Tim)

we couldn’t communicate without language, and we decided if we didn’t have language we would be controlled

How does having a secret party foster positive/negative change? How does it affect your behavior in society? (Carley)

being part of a secret society could alter your behavior - knowing people are makes you skeptical - built on perspective

what makes one have to endure before he/she snaps and tries to change a society structure? how does that happen in your society? (Dan)

Why does happiness need to be controlled in brave new world?


without control, there is no guarenteed stability, - happiness leads to tragedy and misery

In what ways do the main characters in each novel escape from their society? How does this relate to real life in the ways that we as humans escape from troubles in our life? (ere)

in BNW & 1984, escape through drugs and writing and alcohol - not justifiable to drink to escape - almost necessary to keep your sanity  

Session 2

MAP - How do people use fear to control others? (Joe)

fear can be used to break down people and make them vulnerable

PINBOARD - When something/ someone becomes popular does their identity change? Does their individualism change when given more attention? (Kyle)

if somebody enters the limelight, it’s for a reason and it affects them significantly

WHITEBOARD - Discussing and idea in 1984- If you can control and alter the past, do you then control the future? Also if you control the present, do you control the past? (Jay)

if you control the past, you control what’s happening in the present

PROJECTOR - Discussing trust. In society can you truly trust anyone? Who? Can you even trust yourself and how do you know who/what you can trust? (Desiree)

in real life, it’s hard to trust people - with personal trust, who can you really trust

CENTER - How does one’s actions in an inevitably unchangeable situation define them as a person?


You can talk the talk, but your true colors come through when you act

Session 3


Can and how does individuality survive in a brainwashed society?Will individualism persevere? (Anthony)

in 1984, everyone is said to be brainswashed, maybe everyone else isn’t - they chose survival over their own individual thoughts

- what is the role of choice?


Are individuals dangerous to society? (Jamie)

Conformity doesn’t allow for change


Can you be an individual in a society that does not want individuals? (kristy)

how much influence do the people you suround yourself with have on you.


How is it possible for Gilead to revert back to a puritanical society? Could it happen to us?


Handmaid’s Tale the government is the word of God - they’re more afraid of being oppressed than their indivuality


How does the society in BNW model our society through religion? (Zack)

in BNW they use soma as a coping mechanisim and to escape bad situations - otherwise people might use religion

Friday, Oct 19


Map Area (Audio)

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Session 1

How do Hymns and songs in BNW relate to modern pop artists and their lyrical selection? How does it influence the way we act in society? (Sean W)

through song, minds are controlled - music is everywhere. repetition, rhyme, and rhythms control the mind → serves as tool of conformity

Does history exist outside of the human mindand documents? How does this play into the control of Oceania? (Billy)

history becomes what the current majority needs / wants and creates evidence accordingly

what makes one have to endure before he/she snaps and tries to change a society structure? how does that happen in your society? (Dan)

in 1984, physical and mental breakdowns - constant surveillance, then choice, then physical pain

in what ways does lust over power love in the Handmaids Tale?

(Ashley M)

there are different levels of love and lust - weird love triangles / quadralaterals

Session 2

How does social conformity in society affect the people in it? How does social conformity affect happiness? (Caitlyn)

society in BNW values conformity & happiness over individualism - they volunteer to conform

How does religion influence the member of the society in THT?


religion is used as a scape goat - easier to accept a radical idea if it has ‘instiutional legitmacy’

How has the power of the government changed over the years? School systems? (Marissa)

things that used to be controlled by the state govt, now controlled by national govt - connect to testing, curriculum - used to be community, local; now much more rigid

Why do the Controllers in BNW choose to suppress emotion? What effect does emotion have on us? (Morgan)

choose to supress emotion as a means of control - having emotion is part of being human

Session 3

MAP - Does a lack of real emotion create an illusion of happiness or does it lead unhappiness? (Ashley G)

in BNW they don’t know what emotions are - happiness is linked to lack of emotion - is it true happiness?

PINBOARD - How is reality TV entertaining for the population but not for the people it is about? How does it effect the person it is about? (Nate)

mass media causes stress and changes who you are

WHITE BOARD - Conversation about Brave New World


group conformity is not good b/c people don’t evolve

PROJECTOR - how do you look at culture, love and individuality as key elements of life?


in BNW, they can’t grow up b/c they take soma etc and just escape - infantile stuck in one place