Utopian/ Dystopian literature is a rapidly growing sub-genre of popular fiction. Authors often use utopias to convey a message about the world we live in today.
Dystopias are extremely flawed societies. In this genre, the setting is often a fallen society, usually occurring after a large scale war, or other horrific event, that caused chaos in the former world. In many stories this chaos gives rise to a totalitarian government that assumes absolute control. The flaws in this sort of a dystopia are center around oppression and restrictions on freedom by central authorities. Lord of the Flies has some of these characteristics, but the frightening aspects are as much in breakdown of society, as the overwhelming power of a central authority.
For more information and elements of this genre see our article: “Teaching Dystopia”.
Initially, the conch was used to keep order, maintain outbursts at meetings, and allow every person a chance to speak. As Jack becomes more powerful, he uses it to silence others and amplify his thoughts and ideas.
In the story, Ralph was initially elected to be the leader. However, from the beginning it was Jack who truly had control through his dictatorial use of fear. He allowed Ralph to assume some power because the younger boys listened to him. However, by the end, Jack corrupted all the boys.
Jack is ruthless with anyone who disagrees with him. He punishes disobedience harshly, and even tortures two young boys until they submit to his authority. This brutality is what allows Roger to kill Piggy.
As Jack claimed more control, he would celebrate the coerced boys who joined the warrior camp by painting their faces like savages, just like his!
In the beginning of the novel, Piggy and Ralph swim in a crystal blue lagoon, which appears to be an archetypal garden of Eden. There are no adults, no rules, a seemingly perfect place for young boys. As the story progresses, the beauty of the island is overshadowed by evil and chaos that overcomes the boys and order is lost permanently.
Jack rules with fear. The idea that the boys believe that they are being stalked by an island monster helps him maintain this control. Their fear causes more chaos as Jack vows to kill the beast, a tactic that he uses gain more power by providing protection.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Elements of Dystopia
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows the six elements of a dystopia in Lord of the Flies.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
The six common dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are accurate and appropriate to the element being depicted.
4-5 dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or some of the elements may not be identified correctly. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, but may be minimal, and are mostly accurate for the element being depicted.
1-3 dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or most of the elements are inaccurately depicted. The quotes and/or explanations are too minimal, or missing altogether.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are accurate to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be accurate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion, or may be too limited.
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.
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