FYS*101*29 Description

First-Year Seminar

Merriam-Webster defines a dystopia as "an imaginary place where, people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives." If it's such a horrible place, why does it have such a tight grip on our imaginations? Before the books and movies of The Hunger Games and Divergent, there was Terry Gilliam's film Brazil. Before, that, there was George Orwell's novel 1984, and before 1984, there was the 1920 Czech play R.U.R., which contains the first known use of the word "robot." In this class we will be exploring the many ways the idea of a future-gone-horribly-wrong takes shape in short stories, onstage, and in film. How do different writers, playwrights, and screenwriters over the last one hundred years each find ways to powerfully capture the fear, and fascination of a dystopian society? How do their different social, political, feminist, and geopolitical agendas come to light in different works for the public? Is the purpose of dystopian stories to frighten, enlighten, or provoke us into action? Or even at times make us laugh?