In Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Moira is depicted as the symbol for resistance to authority and represents hope to the Handmaids. Atwood presents her as a polar opposite to Offred. She is independent, strong-willed, and outspoken. Conversely, the pair can be argued to be doubles in the fact that they both ‘resist’ to the oppressive Republic in Gilead.
“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body”. When Margaret Sanger spoke these words, she was expressing her belief on a woman’s right to have an abortion. This quote, however, speaks to the fact that women are oppressed on more than just abortions. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Atwood portrays the dehumanization of sexuality through both the characters and events within the novel, therefore proving that women will always be considered less than men will.
Outward conformity along with inward questioning, that is what the main character, presented in Margaret Artwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, has to undertake in order to survive in a theocratic society. Stepping out of line in any way risks your life, so in a place where freedom of speech and basic human right’s no longer apply, Offered must comply with whatever rules they have in place and pretend to agree with the system, but in the inside, she cannot help but think about her past life, her husband, her daughter, before everything began. Flashbacks are integrated in the novel to not only compare the old society with the new one, but to also demonstrate this fake conformity Offred has to display to others and her internal struggle with giving up on escaping the Republic or just accepting her fate and playing by
In the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the main theme is of conformity to the wants of society and the government. Themes of dehumanization of our species, as well as the danger of a totalitaristic state are repeatedly expressed. Orwell demonstrates this theme by using setting and characters in the novel. The setting helps to convey the theme because of the world and kind of city that the main character lives in. Winston’s every move is watched and controlled by the governmental figurehead known as “big brother”. The characters in the story are used to show the theme in the sense that most are essentially brainwashed by, and therefore loyal to and under control of, the overbearing government. The main conflict of the story is between the main
In 1984, George Orwell depicts a dystopian society pervaded by government control and the obsolescence of human emotion and society. Winston is forced to confront the reality of a totalitarian rule where the residents of Oceania are manipulated to ensure absolute government control and servitude of the people. The theme of totalitarianism and dystopia is employed in 1984 to grant absolute power to the government and ensure the deference of the people through the proliferation of propaganda, the repudiation of privacy and freedom, and the eradication of human thought and values.
One of the factors used by the characters in the two novels for their survival is conformity. An example of conformity that plays an important role in the two novels is clothing. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the classifications of each individual are conformed by different clothing. The Handmaids wear red dresses, Marthas wear green, Wives wear blue, Ecowives wear stripes dresses of the three colours, and Commanders and the Angels wear black clothing. According to Offred from The Handmaid's Tale, “The wings too are prescribed issue; they are to keep us from seeing, but also from being seen” (Atwood 9). If defied, they will most likely be sent to the colonies, where their life span and survival chance is shortened. Similarly, the people in the Parable of the Sower also had their style of clothing to blend themselves in when going outside the walls. In the novel, Parable of the Sower, Lauren says:
A Japanese proverb says, “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. As seen in several historical events such as the Salem Witch Trials or the Holocaust, this concept illustrates the idea that nonconformity will get punished or suppressed. During the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler’s populist regime led to subservience out of fear because resistance was too dangerous. The results of the Holocaust demonstrates that conformity can lead to dangerous situations and have a major influence on the behavior and actions of people. In Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the Handmaid, Offred, lived in a totalitarian society where feelings and opinions were suppressed, reading and writing banned, and individuality discouraged.
Rebellion; the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood is a novel. The novel takes place in Gilead a dystopian society. Everyone in Gilead has an important role to play within the society, however, it seems as if none of the characters seem content with their role, due to the restrictions they face. In the novel, the lack of freedom leads to rebellion as shown by the characterization, interior dialogue, flashbacks, and foreshadowing.
Fear is a psychological and physiological response to distressing or dangerous circumstances. Fears are often rational – the fear of death, for example, or of harm to oneself of those one cares about. Some fears are more irrational, such as phobias of certain animals or things not causing immediate danger. In any case, fear is a powerful response and causes someone to be weaker and more submissive. 1984 by George Orwell illustrates how fear, a natural human experience, can be used as a means for a person’s submission to authority, In the novel, Winston Smith, the protagonist, is a working-class citizen in a futuristic, dystopian London. He is constantly monitored by and expected to have total loyalty to a totalitarian government simply called
The Handmaid 's Tale is one of Margaret Atwood most famous novels written during the spring of 1984, when the Berlin wall was still standing. Atwood creates a dystopia, which mostly consists of gender gap and oppression. The Handmaid 's Tale effectively portrays the United States as the modern-day totalitarian society of Gilead, which was illustrated as perfect by using the book of Genesis. Although the authors ideas are inherently and completely fictional, several concepts throughout his book have common links to the past and present society which the author herself calls a speculative fiction. The author uses a totalitarian system which includes aspects of Soviet system, to describe, deprivation, repression and terror with the use of
In ‘1984’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, the destruction of the individual is due to a combination of the destruction of independence, language and totalitarian monopolistic control. Complete collectivism, despite separate political beliefs, is presented throughout dictatorial societal jurisdiction as being the predominant way to maintain eternal power. The regimes seek to control individuals and therefore engage in continuing reconnaissance or surveillance of the populace. The mind is the most individual source of power to any person and totalitarianism aims to create complete orthodoxy by controlling and manipulating the mind. Both Orwell in ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ and Atwood in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are examples of how dystopian literature presents
What would become of the world, if our current societal flaws, such as sexism, racism, and classism were ingrained and executed at a systematic level? This is exactly what The Handmaid’s Tale set out to explore. The novel, which claims to be speculative fiction, is set in the theocratic Republic of Gilead (formerly the USA), where birth rates are rapidly declining and women have been marginalized by the patriarchal regime, forbidden to read, write or love and valued only if they are able to procreate. They are separated into classes, including Wives, Marthas, Aunts, Unwomen, and Handmaids, distinguishable only by the color of their clothing. The Handmaids are renamed by combining ‘of’ and the name of the Commander that they have been assigned to, stripping them of any individuality. The protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale is referred to as Offred (of Fred). Through the manipulation of literary devices such as juxtaposition, allusion, and descriptive diction, Margaret Atwood voices her concerns about our future, and reveals just how quickly and completely our present could transform.
The society of both novel, “1984” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” shares familiar methods in order to maintain higher power to control lower class citizens. Their absolute goal to gain complete dominance is through removing or destroying a piece of humanity in order for disobedience or rebellion to be impossible.
Throughout history, women have often been subjected to prejudice and an inferior status to men. Due to sexist ideologies of men believing that women are not capable of controlling their own lives, women have often been reduced to the status of property. This concept is prominent in many pieces of literature to demonstrate the struggles women have to go through in a predominantly, male structured world. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the author illustrates a woman’s battle in an extreme society ruled by men to express the misogyny occurring in the time period when it was written, 1894. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia summarizes Atwood’s story as one that “depicts one woman’s chilling struggle to survive in a society ruled by misogynistic fascism, by which women are reduced to the condition of property.” Although written 100 years earlier, this is also seen in the novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy, because both authors show the oppression of women through the experiences the characters go through and the means of survival they use. The two novels, The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas
Margaret Atwood has seamlessly woven a tapestry of feminist elements - mainly regarding gender oppression - within her works. With that, using two of Atwood’s texts, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Year of The Flood, as the foundation for our literary research, we will be focusing on the commodification of the female flesh in both similar dystopian contexts. Commodification refers to the action or process of treating an object, or a person, as a raw material or product that can be bought and sold, or even treated as an object of which sovereignty can be held over by one. In both works, women are victimized and treated as sexual beings whose bodies and physical expressions can be freely used by the men who have power over them against their will. The two texts illustrate how society brings about the oppression of women and this exacerbates the commodification of women. These texts demonstrate the societal issues involving oppression of women, women’s sexual role and their status.