"WE LIVE IN THE DYSTOPIA YOUNG ADULT FICTION WARNS US ABOUT," screamed a recent headline in The Federalist. Even if the contemporary era isn't bad enough to warrant the term, it's true that we're obsessed with dystopias: fictional worlds, often illustrating a possible future, where everything is awful. The Hunger Games has spawned a multibillion-dollar film franchise; The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, won the 2017 Emmy for drama; and Kazuo Ishiguro, perhaps best known for his dystopian novel Never Let Me Go, won the 2017 Nobel Prize. This course will analyze dystopian fictions, from George Orwell's 1984 (1949) to the present-day Netflix series Black Mirror. Students will analyze fiction as a storytelling technology, examining how literary and film techniques differ and overlap; understand literary works as reflecting the historical periods that produce them; and think about how literature expresses cultural values, including those ideals human societies deem most important.


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