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The Heart Goes Last
Margaret Atwood

A dystopian novel on the difference between freedom and security, surveillance, brain-altering surgery, and the power of mind and imagination.

In the near future, the rust belt states are reigned by anarchy. Most people have lost their jobs and homes, the streets are not safe and there is a constant threat of being mugged, raped, killed. But there is a silver lining giving new hope, the Positron/Consilience Project. There, people get a job, a nice home, delicious food, and a secure environment in exchange for their freedom and privacy. Every other month, citizens go to prison and their alternates move into the house. Life in this enclosure is quite peaceful until more and more light is shed on the abyss of the human mind and human rights abuses.

This is a valuable addition to the unit on utopia/dystopia as it includes some very important topics as surveillance and its connection to security and freedom, human trafficking, freedom of speech, will, and thought, and many more. It is a powerful novel including extreme examples of ethically questionable situations providing an excellent basis for discussions.

· · 2015

Critical edition

The Heart Goes Last. Margaret Atwood. Virago, 216. 416 pp., ISBN 9780349007298

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In favour of this entry

  • Addresses current affairs
  • Award-winning
  • Students can identify with the text

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  • Audiobook