When I was doing some online research before I taught a unit on The Giver, I realized that there were around 10 different categories of perfection, or Utopian views, that seemed to play a role in what I was researching.
When we teach Brave New World or Gattaca, we might only focus on a couple of these categories. Any Utopian/Dystopian story can't really cover all of the ways people see perfection, but you can try to do so in this activity.
There are a couple of surprising ones on the list, but you'll understand why when you think about it. And that's the main point here: students should be thinking about it. If all they can do is be told by Lois Lowry or Brad Pitt how the world might be and have little imagination of their own, just think about the potential irony of that situation.
This assignment will help students to see many aspects of the desire for perfection, positive and negative. Works well as a web-based activity, but you could also have students in groups. Alone with a printout might end up with frustration because it takes a bit of research or discussing.
Link to the Google Doc version means it can be done completely online, just like all assignments in the new perfect world.
20 answers with a lot of choices for students as to what they answer (they choose categories, not me). Plus, this assignment MUST be discussed to some extent, even if it's the kids leading the discussion.
Science and social studies teachers, you might be surprised how well this assignment might fit into units on genes or war or world religions. But you shouldn't be surprised, since English is really philosophy for the masses, and philosophy just wants to explain what science and history can't quite tell us.