Essay 3 – Research Paper: Dystopia in Contemporary Society

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Dystopian fiction warns us. It speculates about what might happen to a society like our own if we are not cautious and vigilant. Authors from George Orwell of 1984 to Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games have, for decades, used the meduim of speculative fiction to ponder the dark possibilities of the future. Perhaps the greatest example of all, however, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We is a remarkable novel in part because of the many ways that it can be interpreted and applied to contemporary social, political, and cultural issues. Many of Zamyatin’s predictions seem prescient today, reflecting the anxieties of modern life with startling accuracy.

Prompt: Develop an argument about a contemporary, controversial issue that could have a dystopic outcome; that is, that you believe we should be concerned about because of the danger it poses to society. Your job is to explain your chosen issue, argue why you think we should be worried about it, and suggest what we should do to mitigate the harm it might cause.

General Instructions:

Begin: by explaining why dystopian fiction is a valuable literary genre for people to be reading. Use Zamyatin’s We as an example: what sort of warnings does it confront us with about the future of human society? Transition into an introduction of your real-world, contemporary issue. What is your issue? Why is something to be worried about? What might happen if we do not address it? End this paragraph with a thesis statement that indicates what the best course of action is to mitigate the harm that your chosen issue might cause.

Develop: multiple body paragraphs in which you make a well-researched argument indicating

  1. Why you think this issue is a cause for concern
  2. What course of action should be followed to mitigate the harm potentially caused by this issue

This section of your essay should move mostly away from the novel and focus on the present issue you have researched and are warning your audience about. You may, however, make occasional references back to the novel to illustrate points you are trying to make.

Conclude: With a brief summary and a call to action. Invoke your audience to take action on this issue.


Length: 7 pages minimum

Sources: Minimum of 5 total, of which at least 2 must be scholarly (academic)

MLA format, including a works cited page for all cited materials

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