Literature Study GuidesIt Cant Happen Here

It Can't Happen Here | Study Guide

Sinclair Lewis

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Course Hero. "It Can't Happen Here Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Mar. 2020. Web. 2 July 2022. <>.

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Course Hero. "It Can't Happen Here Study Guide." March 13, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2022.


Course Hero, "It Can't Happen Here Study Guide," March 13, 2020, accessed July 2, 2022,



Sinclair Lewis

Year Published





Dystopian, Satire

Perspective and Narrator

It Can't Happen Here is told in the third person by an omniscient narrator. Much of the story, however, is told from the perspective of the main character and hero, Doremus Jessup.


It Can't Happen Here is written in the past tense.

About the Title

The title refers to the hero's belief that his country is too steeped in democratic traditions to succumb to fascism as other countries have done. The title has a larger resonance as well: Sinclair Lewis did not coin the phrase "it can't happen here"; rather, it was a common remark during the period, reflecting Americans' belief that their country was immune to tyranny. Moreover, versions of this remark are still in circulation. The title of the novel is also a piece of verbal irony since in fact what "can't happen" does happen—an American slide into fascism fully narrated in the novel.


This study guide for Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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