In face of severe situation, people often feel relief when they think of happier, simpler times in order to alleviate the severity. In the fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, a theocracy government controls every aspect of life in order to produce the best result of its plans. At the beginning of chapter 12, Offred takes a required, but luxurious bath because she can take off the burdensome wings and veils. While she bathes, Offred remembers her daughter from the past and a time with her family. Atwood compares Offred’s past and present through imagery, tone, similes, and symbolism combined with parallel structure to highlight the vulnerability of women to their surroundings. Atwood describes the bathroom an area of vulnerability for the handmaids to emphasize their weakness. Repetition of “blue” (81) creates a cold atmosphere that is not suitable for the handmaids, who are represented by red, the color of warmth. Atwood demonstrates the disapproval of handmaids as a function of the government. The description of the bathroom provides setting that seems complete, but lacks a central component, a “mirror” (81). A mirror reflects the …show more content…
She describes her body with imperfect diction, such as “strange”, “outdated”, “shameful”, and “immodest” (82). Atwood has such a critical tone towards body image to expose the high standard of beauty and how the standard forces people to feel about their own body. Such image of oneself compared to the standard allows people to feel imperfect and incompetent and prohibits beauty to surface. Atwood uses parallelism in “without thought...without care” (82) to emphasize the past’s carelessness of exposure. Atwood compares the past’s exposure to the present’s concealment to differentiate the effects of each. Atwood criticizes the societal expectation of beauty that makes everyone vulnerable to pressure and
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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. As chapter 33 begins, the Handmaids are off to the Women’s Prayvaganza (a portmanteau of pray and extravaganza). The event, juxtaposed to the ‘fun festival’ it resembles, is really a mass wedding with girls as young as fourteen married off to Angels (troops).
Offred is suspicious of what the handmaid 's did. She looks at their hands, and a clue is given to her when she sees “black gloves”(Atwood 275). She ponders what they could have possibly done to have warranted such action from the authorities. Her speculation shows how the society of Gilead functions. The government of Gilead wants the handmaids to see that the prisoners are being hanged, as their suspicion is how Gilead gains control of them.
Throughout the novel, aphorisms play a large role in depicting the role of women as subservient to their male counterparts. By altering distinct aphorisms from the Bible and then locking it away from women, the male leaders of Gilead use the Bible to impose their rules and views. These modified sayings are instrumental in the effort of the subjugation and indoctrination of Handmaid’s. Although Offred resists conforming to such brainwashing, her constant references to Aunt Lydia's precepts are indication of the success of such tactics. One saying in particular, “Modesty is invisibility” (Atwood 28), is so indoctrinated in Offred that she conforms to the doctrines and rules of Gilead without hesitation.
Someone could be unique, intriguing, stimulating, and have the most beautiful personality but half their body could be disfigured form burns and people judge by the first physical impression. When Grealy finishes a night of trick-or-treating and removes her mask, she states, “At home, when I tool the mask off, I felt both sad and relieved. Sad because I had felt like a pauper walking for a few brief hours in the clothes of a prince and because I had liked it so much. Relieved because I felt no connection with that kind of happiness; I didn’t deserve it and thus I shouldn’t want it.” (Page 71) Grealy had been belittled for so long on a daily basis that she believed she was nothing more than this ugly monster that doesn’t deserve love or friendship.
There are two ways people will react to when their freedom is taken away. They will either accept it or rebel against it, which is what a lot of the female characters in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale accomplished. Shown through Offred’s repetition of certain events, Moira’s tone of being a fighter, and Serena Joy’s desperation, the reader can see that lack of freedom leads to rebellion. Offred, the novel’s narrator, now lives in a world where women are powerless. She has had her freedom taken away, and at times follows the rules, but ends up rebelling in many powerful ways.
These texts demonstrate the societal issues involving oppression of women, women’s sexual role and their status. The Handmaid’s Tale depicts the rigid societal structure whereby women are forced to serve in various aspects and functions in the society. The boundaries of the context set are in Gilead, a totalitarian state dominated by Christian fundamentalists, indicating that Gilead enforces conformity among its citizens. In a simply put manner, one’s social position is fixed. The permanent social statuses are clearly evident from the colour-coding of the women wherein “some [are] in red, some in dull green of
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the protagonist, Offred, expresses her wish that her “story [is] different,” that it is “happier,” or at least “more active, less hesitant, less distracted” than it is ultimately portrayed (267). However, as her story is told, these characteristics are evident in the way she talks and acts, especially around those with authority. Hesitant to express her true thoughts and feelings, and distracted by memories from her previous life, Offred attempts to piece together her role in the society that has taken her freedom. The result is a compilation of moments, of memories, both from her present, her past, and even speculation about her future.
Symbolism can be defined as the use of symbols that an author uses to suggest more than the literal meaning of the object .Symbolism often allows the reader to understand the text better and connect with the story on a different level. In The Handmaid’s Tale, symbolism can be seen in various parts of the novel. One of the most common type of symbolism that can be identified in the text is through the use of colours. One of the most obvious symbols in the novel is the uniform that every Handmaid is supposed to wear.
The Fear Itself "Fear is a powerful stimulant" (Atwood 268). The novel Handmaid 's Tale is a story that takes place in a dystopian society where in order to increase the fertility rate women who are able to have children are distributed across the country and are encouraged to have babies from the Commanders. Like most of the dystopian novels, the focus of the story is how people are oppressed in the name of fear. Fear is used as a controlling mechanism to keep people in check and stop them from rising up. In the book, fear is too strong of a feeling that it creates the base of most of the emotions and actions.
In this written text, the emphasis will be on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale and as well as the way Atwood portrays women and how it can be argued to show the oppression of women. The main purpose is to analyze the way women are treated throughout this book and depict why they are represented this way in the society in Gilead. Then, comparatively, observe the men’s domination over women and how they govern this society. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are stripped of their rights, suffer many inequalities and are objectified, controlled by men and only valued for their reproductive qualities. The Gilead society is divided in multiple social group.
“Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.”- William Gaddis. People take advantage of power when it is entrusted to them because of their own greed, which as a result lead to societal deterioration. In the story, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood, the higher-ups from Gilead abuse the power that is given to them, ruining the life of the citizens in the society. This was the cause for the need of higher birth rates and fixing conflicts in the world, but this was handled immorally.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood 's dystopian classic, The Handmaid 's Tale. The novel is told from a first person account of a young woman, Offred. In an age of declining births, she is forced to become a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, the imagined future in the United States. The Handmaids are to provide children by the substitution of infertile women of a higher social status. Through the creation of different characteristics of female characters – ones who are submissive yet rebellious, and like to take advantage of their power - Margaret Atwood portray themes of love, theocracy, rebellion, and gender roles.
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, argues that women are instruments of the patriarchy, that women know this, and that women allow the system of oppression to live on. Her fictions ask, “What stories do women tell about themselves? What happens when their stories run counter to literary conventions or society’s expectations?” (Lecker 1). The Handmaid’s Tale is told through the protagonist, Offred, and allows readers to follow through her life as a handmaid while looking back on how life used to be prior to the societal changes.
In the 1980s, United States was experiencing the rise of conservatism. Under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, conservative religious groups were gaining popularity. In response to the social and political landscape, Canadian author Margaret Atwood published a fictional novel The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986; a genre of dystopian novels. The storyline projects an imaginary futuristic world where society lives under oppression and illusion of a utopian society maintained through totalitarian control. Dystopian novels often focus on current social government trends and show an exaggeration of what happens if the trends are taken too far.
Works of literature often portray ideas relating to Marxist theory, this is why in a dystopian society, class distinctions dominate the social climate, using Marxist ideologies as a tool to define the lives of the narrator and those around her. In Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, ideologies from Marxist theory dominate the society in which Offred, the narrator, lives in, evidenced by the strict class systems and limited interaction between them. In writing the novel, Atwood makes a point to create a world that could exist using technology and ideas already accessible in today’s society, meaning the events that take place in The Handmaid’s Tale could happen in present day. Offred lives in a reality where class distinctions dominate society, and women, especially fertile women. These women are displaced downwards, although there are those women who attempt to resist the grip of society.