IAH 221C Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Utopian And Dystopian Fiction, Pickpocketing, Utopia
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• How does a science fiction literary critic define utopia?
• According to our discussion of Jameson’s in acheaologists of the future, or piercy’s
novel, the genre of utopian fiction demonstrated an axiety about anticipating the future.
The genre ‘succeeds by failures’
• “Alien” constructions of gender show us feminist critiques
• “when I was a child, I noticed that neither history as I was taught is nor the stories I was
told seemed to lead to me. I began to fix them. I have been at it ever since. We need a
past that leads to us. Similarly, what we imagine we are working toward does a lot to
define what we will consider doable action aimed at producing the future we and
preventing the future we fear” (Piercy x)
• “how decisions are made in a fair and egalitarian way was one of the themes of the
novel” (Piercy xi)
• “How do we deal with our collective memories-our history-that we are constantly
reshaping?” (Piercy x)
Why doesn’t Piercy’s utopia include live birth?
• Why is reproduction from a machine part of the (long) woman’s movement?
• In herland, a utopian novella written in 1915 by Charlotte, Perkins Gilman, birth is also
reimagined as something that can be accomplished in a women-only society
• Why is “the broader” part of the feminist utopian tradition?
Is Connie an unlikely heroine or a sociopath? Are the doctors the enemy or the cure?
• Connie appears to be a sociopath to her doctor. A sociopath is a person with a
personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior
and a lack of conscience.
Is Connie’s behavior a personality disorder, or a response to her social environment,
• The doctors cite as evidence of her instability: her broken marriage, a love affair with
a blind pickpocket and a conviction for a child abuse
• They know nothing of the desperate family and financial crises that have shaped her
• They can’t understand the prejudice to which she has been subjected as a Mexican-