Sweeper Response: “It Can’t Happen Here”

Admittedly, our group discussion ran off the rails due, perhaps, to the lack of people who actually had the time to read through the novel. Despite that, I do think several interesting points came up, the one which I want to talk about for a moment being the idea that “all art is political”, something which I do not entirely agree with. Lewis absolutely was the kind of writer who did create stories which contain messages but that does not mean that every novel ever written has some sort of underlying message in its prose. While, say, pulp fiction novels from the forties can very well be read like social barometer, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be counted along side novels like “It Can’t Happen Here” or “1984” or “Brave New World”. Somethings really are just plastic, commercial and meaningless. This is why I think we should know more about the people who write the stories and whether they were political or had specific stances which they were vocal about. Just skimming quickly through Lewis’s Wikipedia entry can easily confirm that this was a man with something to say and a target to criticize–namely, American capitalism and materialism. If you like, one could look at Lewis as something of a fiction-writing polemicist in the vein of George Orwell or a social commentator like Bret Easton Ellis or Kurt Vonnegut.

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