Human Nature In Nineteen Eighty-Four And The Handmaid's Tale

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‘Positive characters … usually prove miserably ineffectual when contending with ruthless overwhelming powers’ claims Amin Malak, noting on such protagonists as Winston Smith and Offred in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and, when looking at the dystopian genre as a whole, he certainly seems to be correct. Dystopian fiction does seem to portray the worse side of human nature than the better, leaving the positive traits to the struggling protagonists. While utopian writers seemed to think that the essence of human nature was to do good, dystopian writers seem to think very differently and it is from this notion that these novels seem to be written. Nineteen Eighty-Four certainly seems to do this, with almost every member of the society representing one or more negative aspects of humanity. Throughout the novel, Winston constantly references the fact that ‘Today there were fear, hatred and pain’ and that in this society of Ingsoc ‘No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred’ and this is displayed in many, various ways. An example of this is when Winston writes about when he went to see a film stating that the ‘Audience were much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him’ and that ‘there was a wonderful shot of a child’s arm going up up up right up into the air…and there was a lot of applause from the party seats’. This displays the extent to which

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