Examples Of Satire In The Handmaid's Tale

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Satire is used in literature to criticize and point out society’s flaws. The criticism is usually masked in humour. Irony is commonly used in satires to expose flaws, an effective example is John Smith’s A Modest Proposal, he effectively uses irony, to communicate his argument about the poverty in Ireland at the time. Similarly, in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale she criticizes the society that women live in. Atwood uses allusions to the Old Testament, Cultural Revolution, Salem Witch Trials, and the Taliban to satirize the oppression of women in political, religious and social aspects. Atwood parallels the Cultural Revolution in China to the how the Gilead government gains power and control over the United States. The Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution to assert his control over the Chinese government. Zedong ordered the nation to cleanse themselves of “impure” aspects of Chinese society. This was done by shutting down schools and a massive youth mobilization. The students formed groups called the Red Guards, they attacked and harassed members of China’s elderly and …show more content…

Atwood connects the political events to show how Gilead gained control and keeps their control by establishing fear into the women. Gilead stays in control by limiting speech to religious references, keeping the women from talking about the oppression they are suffering. Additionally, women are blamed for the social issues that were present in a pre-Gilead society such as rape, abortion and adultery. Women get the blame for the issues and men do not suffer consequences since it is in their nature to cheat. Atwood uses allusions to the Old Testament and historical events to satirize the oppression of women in political, religious and social

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