by Yevgeny Zamyatin
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
- Walt Whitman
In this poem by the "father of free verse," the speaker prefers nature to the astronomer's cold, organized lecture.Pair “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” with “Excerpts from We” and ask students to compare these attitudes to math, science, and nature. How would the poem’s narrator react to life in D-503’s world? And vice versa?
Total Control in North Korea
- Jessica McBirney
This article describes life in North Korea under totalitarian government rule. In North Korea, the government has total control over the economy, the military, education, and people’s access to information—and it punishes those who try to change the status quo.Pair “Excerpts from We” with “Total Control in North Korea” and ask students to compare the fictional dystopian state in “We” to society of North Korea. Are their similarities between the fictional police state and the real-life authoritarian regime?
Burning a Book
- William Stafford
William Stafford’s poem “Burning a Book” considers the act of book burning in a new light, emphasizing the greater importance of combating ignorance and sharing ideas.Pair “Burning a Book” with “Excerpts from ‘We’” and ask students to compare the themes of the two pieces. How do they build upon and inform one another in terms of the question of censorship? Do the authors seem to share similar perspectives, or do they differ in the issues that they seem to consider particularly important?
Someone Might Be Watching — An Introduction to Dystopian Fiction
- Shelby Ostergaard
In the informational text “Someone Might Be Watching — An Introduction to Dystopian Fiction,” Shelby Ostergaard discusses the characteristics of dystopian fiction and how the genre comments on society.Pair “Excerpts from We” with "Someone Might Be Watching — An Introduction to Dystopian Fiction” and ask students to discuss how “Excerpts from We” is an example of dystopian fiction. What flaws in society does Zamyatin magnify? Why do students think this book was banned by the Soviet Union?