The Handmaid and the Hound: The Predictive Punch of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fahrenheit 451”

For a new generation of readers, the fears of the future funneled through these two contemporary classics have achieved critical mass and are more forecast than creative fancy. And that’s because they project an eerie déjà vu quality to the tumult of 2017.

In varying measures, “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fahrenheit 451” speak to the defining fears of our day: The rise of rabidly intolerant strains of politics and political leaders at home and abroad, a palpable realization that the “someday” of climate change ravages are already defining our present and a creeping suspicion that the seemingly limitless interconnectivity of the digital era may ultimately prove more sinister and isolating than liberating.

Atwood and Bradbury channeled the gender dynamics and collective fears of their respective generations into chilling conceptions of the near-future that are as convincing as they are carefully-drawn. Their visions provide stark warnings for the direction of society that are as much a call to action as they are predictive lament.

Are Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” first published in 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, first published in 1953, the dystopian fiction guidebooks to our troubled times?

Teacher: Phelim Kine

Phelim Kine is an adjunct professor at Hunter College and a deputy director in Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. He has spoken publicly on Asia’s human rights challenges at venues ranging from the European Parliament and the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong to the Council on Foreign Relations and a hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC).











When: Fri., August 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Where: The Strand
828 Broadway
212-473-1452
Price: $20, includes complimentary beer and wine
Click here to buy tickets or for more information from the venue's website
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For a new generation of readers, the fears of the future funneled through these two contemporary classics have achieved critical mass and are more forecast than creative fancy. And that’s because they project an eerie déjà vu quality to the tumult of 2017.

In varying measures, “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fahrenheit 451” speak to the defining fears of our day: The rise of rabidly intolerant strains of politics and political leaders at home and abroad, a palpable realization that the “someday” of climate change ravages are already defining our present and a creeping suspicion that the seemingly limitless interconnectivity of the digital era may ultimately prove more sinister and isolating than liberating.

Atwood and Bradbury channeled the gender dynamics and collective fears of their respective generations into chilling conceptions of the near-future that are as convincing as they are carefully-drawn. Their visions provide stark warnings for the direction of society that are as much a call to action as they are predictive lament.

Are Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” first published in 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, first published in 1953, the dystopian fiction guidebooks to our troubled times?

Teacher: Phelim Kine

Phelim Kine is an adjunct professor at Hunter College and a deputy director in Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. He has spoken publicly on Asia’s human rights challenges at venues ranging from the European Parliament and the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong to the Council on Foreign Relations and a hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC).