58 pages 1 hour read

Thomas More


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1516

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Book 2 of Thomas More’s Utopia is devoted to Raphael’s description of the laws and customs of the island of Utopia. But is Utopia a true utopia? What are the strengths and weaknesses in Utopian society? How does More undermine Raphael’s praise of Utopia, especially at the end of Book 2?

Teaching Suggestion: It may be helpful to direct students to examine the contradictions in Raphael’s description of Utopia. For instance, Raphael claims that the Utopians only work for six hours each day, but Utopian officials are so obsessed with preventing idleness that when time spent at additional occupations and lectures is considered, it seems that Utopians are left with almost no free time. Students might also consider the satire in More’s presentation of Utopia (the names of the island’s physical features, officials, and so on) and whether Utopia is achievable or even desirable.

Differentiation Suggestion: English learners, students with dyslexia, and those with attentional or executive function differences might find sorting through the entire text to find evidence daunting. You might help these students pinpoint the most relevant sections of text to limit the amount they need to review or allow students additional time to gather evidence. Students may also appreciate the opportunity to work in groups for this task; in this instance, you might assign one section of the text per group to save time and encourage collaboration.