Nostalgia, kitsch and the Great Recession in Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last and Westworld (Season 1)

Title: Nostalgia, kitsch and the Great Recession in Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last and Westworld (Season 1)
Author: Kowal, Ewa
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2019, vol. 45, iss. 1, pp. [143]-155
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The paper is a comparative study of Margaret Atwood's 2015 dystopian novel The Heart Goes Last and the 2016 HBO science-fiction TV series Westworld (Season 1) created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Drawing upon Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream and Marita Sturken's Tourists of History, the paper focuses on the American frontier myth, and the concepts of nostalgia and kitsch (in particular, Sturken's symbol of the snow globe) to analyse both works as cultural reactions to the recent Great Recession. While both analysed works can be said to reflect an anxiety about the growing class gap and express resentment against the rich, they respond differently to the popular demand for comfort in times of crisis. While Westworld uplifts with a vicarious experience of the underdog's emancipation, Atwood's satire ironically withholds a happy ending, providing readers with a lesson and a challenge instead.
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