Historical Allusions In Handmaid's Tale

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The novel, Handmaid’s Tale, was written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. The text is centered around Offred, a woman subsided into a role of inferiority and lead into a series of events surrounding the limitations of The Republic of Gilead. The Republic of Gilead, previously known as the United States, is totalitarian government concealed as a religious one as it uses forceful methods to control its people. These methods constructed the only acceptable social paradigm input, ones where Atwood wrote in form of historical and cultural allusions. Furthermore, it is a reflection of the author’s world and her belief system on how they would morph and adapt to an extreme scenario. These components are shown through from Offred’s flashbacks to the infrastructure…show more content…
The following quote states, “We had flannelette sheets, like children’s, and army-issue blankets, old ones that still said U.S.” (Atwood, 1985, p. 4) This is a historical allusion by introducing Gilead and its connection to the real world the United States. By choosing, at her time, a powerful country reflects on the author’s thoughts on which country is capable of shifting the power and directing it into a dystopian-like world. It concurs with her background. By being written through a Canadian perspective, the United States would be the most appropriate choice because the country was known for struggling with retaining a stable foundation political and social wise. The most prominent event that put them in the spotlight was the Cold War. The political stirring between them and China caused a shift on what is considered the “correct” and “beneficial” power. Their win caused this story to be dictated and spread through the western world in the following years; it built the illusion that the United States does certain actions for the greater good. This political moral compass made the formation of Gilead in the said country doesn’t seem far-fetched. On the contrary, it seemed more feasible with the circumstances
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