Dystopian Fiction

Dealing with societies attempting to build a "perfect" world

Dystopian Fiction is...

Literature involving a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. A dystopia is the opposite of utopia, which is a perfect society.

Characteristics of Dystopian Fiction


Dystopian literature often includes teen characters that exhibit strength, courage, and conviction.Teen characters perform ultimate acts of rebellion against authority and the society's unfair rules.They face future fears and work on conquering them, and often have fear or curiosity about the world outside their society. The protagonist of the story is often someone who intuitively feels something is wrong with society and sets out to change it, believing that it is possible to overthrow the dictatorship, or merely escape from the misery. For example, Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games.


The stories are usually set in the future, after something happened that dramatically altered society and the characters' way of life. The government is often very controlling and oppressive in these stories. They often limit or restrict the citizens' access to information to keep them under the control of the government.


Often, the hero meets a person who represents the dystopia, who is possibly the leader of the society. In the conflict, the hero meets and is sometimes helped by a group of people who are also trying to escape or destroy the dystopia. Sometimes these people were once part of the dystopia, but were exiled or have escaped. Other times they have created their own society within the dystopia.


There are two major plot lines that occur in dystopian stories. The plot is basically described as a lot of things happen in the process of the protagonist trying to defy, overthrow, or escape the government oppression. There can be two outcomes, either the protagonist is successful, or the government ultimately wins, despite the efforts of the rebellious citizens.

Harrison Bergeron

Far into the future, everyone is equal. People are made equal in every way thanks to specially made physical and mental handicaps. No one question the system, and anyone who is smart enough to do so is suppressed by mental handicaps before they can think too hard. Harrison Bergeron, however, is different. He is too strong for any physical or mental handicaps, and requires other forms of oppression...


The story portrayed the message that when people go to extremes to try to make everyone the same, there can be disastrous consequences. When everyone is the same, like it says in the first paragraph, no one is special at all. Anyone who is considered too smart, too beautiful, or too talented at anything is handicapped or covered up so that they can’t compare with anyone else or make people feel inferior. This can lead to the type of outcome that happens later in the story.


1. Dystopian fiction often includes alternate political, economic, and/or social structures.

This is shown in the story when the government puts handicaps on the citizens in order to make everyone equal to one another. All Dystopian stories should have some different concept in societal structure. usually these systems have faults, which is what makes it dystopian.

2. Dystopian fiction contains a character who fights the government oppression and social system. Without a character who goes against the dystopian oppression the story wouldn't go anywhere. The character in our story that fights the oppression is Harrison. Harrison Bergeron, though heavily handicapped is a genius and is very large and strong. He escapes being seized by the police and runs to a dance studio and takes off his handicaps live on TV. He then declares himself emperor.

3. Dystopian fictions often take place in a futuristic time period. Harrison Bergeron takes place in 2081, in a time and place that is very different from present society. This makes it dystopian because it is different from what is normal, and is set far into the future.

2081 Trailer | Based on Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron"