Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Gwen Tarbox

Second Advisor

Kim Ballard

Third Advisor

Philip Egan


Young adult (YA) dystopian literature is a trend that is taking the nation by storm. Since September 11, 2001, the genre has gained a strong backing from academics, authors, and YA readers; after Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games (2008), however, YA dystopian literature has become the forefront of teen reading, especially with the recently adapted film versions of the widely renowned trilogy. In order to keep up with the times, a proposed course—YA Dystopian Literature: A Survey of Modern Book Series—has been created to be taught at Western Michigan University by Dr. Gwen Tarbox in the spring of 2015.

Before the course could be developed, it was necessary to understand the term “dystopia,” recognize how YA dystopian literature has evolved from mainstream adult dystopian literature, and acknowledge the themes and trends that have emerged from the genre. In order to create the course, a study of previous dystopian literature classes was completed and the results are discussed. A brief explanation of the target audience is provided, along with an extensive rationale behind the learning objectives, text selections, in-class exercises and discussion questions, and other assignments. After the conclusion, which details the need for such a college-level course, the course syllabus is included in the appendix.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

D. Ryan-Thesis Presentation.pdf (327 kB)
Powerpoint Presentation