Decades Project - US History HonorsAmerican Indian Project - US HistoryGCHS Ends the Stigma - PsychologySocial Controversy Debate - Current IssuesJunior English Research PaperJunior Film Research PaperAP Literature Literary Criticism AssignmentWriting an EditorialThe Roaring TwentiesBudgeting ProjectSophomore Honors English - Research SpeechNational Political Convention 1848Dystopian Independent Novel Assignment2016 Mock Election ProjectWorld History Unit 2 ProjectEmpathy with an OutletPower of OneThe Student's Choice Public Service Assignment20% Passion Project
This is the "Dystopian Independent Novel Assignment" page of the "Grayslake Central LRC" guide.
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Is Your Source Credible?

Is your source...

  • Credible: Trustworthy, there is evidence that the author is an expert on the subject, the website is a recognized and believable source.
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  • Supported: The source documents where the information came from and how claims are supported, other sources are listed, and contact information is provided.

If you can say yes to these four requirements then your source is probably credible.


Creating Keywords to Search (Example)

How to Generate Keywords

Create your own table of keywords by visiting the University of Texas Library Site.

Below is a list of keywords. You can use these keywords as search terms when researching your topic.

Topic Media's Effects on Women's Body Image
Key Concepts Media Women Body Image
Related Keywords television
social media


How to Use Your Keywords

Now that you've created your list of keywords, you will need to combine them using BOOLEAN operators (AND and OR).

In your example, the combined keywords would look like this:

Media OR television OR advertising OR social media


Women OR Female OR Girl OR Woman OR Gender


Body Image OR size OR weight OR beautiful OR ideal


Database Search Tips

Database Search Tips

  • Make sure all words are spelled accurately.
  • If you are looking for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example, a search for "When in the course of human events" will return all records with that exact phrase.
  • By default, the search returns records that contain all of the words in your search string. For example, a search for washington jefferson adams returns all records with the words washington, jefferson, and adams.
  • If you want to find all records that contain washington, jefferson, or adams, you can use the "or" keyword: washington or jefferson or adams.
  • To exclude certain words, the "-" (minus) symbol can be used. For example, to find all records that have washington and jefferson, but not adams, try washington jefferson -adams.
  • The search automatically adds a wildcard to the end of each word. For example, a search for president will return all records with president, presidents, presidential, etc. To turn this feature off, put quotes around each word: "president".
  • The search is not case- or accent-sensitive. For example, a search for César Chávez will return the same results as a search for cesar chavez. o search for words that appear close together in the result text (proximity search) use the "near" keyword: george near Washington


AP Literature & Composition

Dystopian Independent Novel Assignment

A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia where ideal conditions are presented. Such societies appear in many works of fiction, particularly in stories set in a speculative future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian fiction is often used to spotlight real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, religion, psychology, spirituality, or technology that may become more problematic in the future.

With these ideas in mind, please choose one of the following dystopian novels, all of which in some way focus on a view of the future that is created by the mistakes of the present.

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I’ve provided the summaries for each of the novels. Please use them to make your selection. You should read the work carefully enough so that you understand not only plot but have an idea of the broader ideas the work presents.  Pay particular attention to the societal issues the novel raises and the parallels you see to the world today.

Through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, dystopias offer critical commentary about a current cultural trend, societal norm, or political system. It is this trend, norm, or system I’d like you to identify in your chosen novel and then connect back to today’s world. Where do you see this idea taking shape in the language of politicians and others who are in charge of public policy? Are there laws in place that serve as a catalyst for the scenario your novel describes? How are current social rules and beliefs pushing us to a dystopic state?

Once you’ve finished your novel, identify at least one significant dystopic element that the author is using to spotlight an aspect of today’s society. Using research, find evidence from current or recent events to support your observations about the novel’s dystopic element. Your formal essay of 4-5 pages, then, should clearly argue how current thinking is reflected in the dystopic situation outlined in your novel; it should address the path society is on today, providing commentary as to why it will potentially lead to a dystopic state. In other words, why should we care about the state of things today? What’s waiting for us in the future?

Along with the novel, please use evidence from 2-3 articles to support your argument. Provide copies of the articles and a works cited page with your essay.


Problems in Society

  • Obesity
  • Violence in Schools
  • Materialism
  • Erosion of National Pride
  • Shifting Economy (to overseas)
  • Poverty
  • Education Disparity
  • Growing Up Too Fast
  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse
  • Climate Change
  • Money in Politics
  • Wealth Disparity
  • Overpopulation
  • Species Extinction
  • Pollution
  • Habitat Destruction
  • Decline of Privacy
  • Equality


To create your works cited, please create an account in Noodletools.  

For help with using Noodletools, please visit Noodletools Help Page for tutorials and how to videos. 


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