Handmaids and Hunger Games: Dystopian Fiction

October 13, 2017 @ 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030
Kara Oakleaf

Rhonda Shary and Sarah Canfield explore the question, “What impact is dystopian fiction having on the world today?” Panelists discuss the history, distinguishing features, and topicality of dystopian fiction, from classics such as We and 1984 to recent works including The Handmaid’s Tale, Parable of the Sower, The Hunger Games, and V for Vendetta, and in “literary” films from Metropolis to Children of Men. While dystopian themes have always expressed warning and anxiety, recently they seem to have become less fictional and more factual, as we confront the rise of technology and science, religious extremism, environmental stresses, income inequality, and strife over reproductive control and the impact of overpopulation. By highlighting issues of class, race, gender, and politics in the real world, dystopian works express society’s fears of the unknown, act as a literature of witness in times of social change, and promote strategies of resistance to injustice, asking the questions:  What can we do to prevent disaster from happening to us? What went wrong here, and how can we make it right?