What are two examples of media (music, film, commercial, TV show, book) considered to be a contemporary “cautionary tale”? 

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many recent films have taken up apocalyptic subjects and disutopian subjects as well. These can often be interepreted as "cautionary tales" as they offer, usually, an explanation for two things.

First they suggest what human or social or industrial flaws led to the apocalypse and, second, they offer a means of salvation.

A pattern similar to this one is essential for a story to be truly "cautionary" because the story must present a clear sense of the result of certain decisions or a definite outcome to be avoided. 

This pattern is true of The Book of Eli(2010), a film which presents reading and thoughtful knowledge as a solution to mankind's problems. The themes of this film are reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's classic cautionary tale, Fahrenheit 451

There are many more "end of the world" stories in popular culture that might serve as examples, including some zombie apocalypse films like I Am Legend and 28 Days. The Terminator films also fit the description of cautionary tales. Each of these stories presents a world that has been undone by science or technology and which can only be saved by human compassion and "togetherness". 

Margaret Atwood's novels Oryx & Crake and A Handmaid's Tale are also cautionary tales about world's gone wrong.