It Can’t Happen Here: Handmaids, Farm Animals and the Dystopian Novel

Taught by Judith Davis

Class begins 4/2/2018, ends 4/13/2018

10:00-11:30 George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale offer two perspectives on political systems and their effects on the individual. In this class, we will read and discuss these and other novels that present visions of dystopias, “imaginary places where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” Dystopian novels are often called cautionary tales: they depict what life could be under circumstances that are not so different from our own—for example, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. It will be helpful if you read Atwood and Orwell before coming to class; Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is also recommended. Judith Davis is Professor Emerita of French and Humanities, Goshen College where she served as director of communications, grant writer and teacher for French, English and women’s studies.