Reality Control In The Handmaids Tale

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The most common form of reality control present in both The Handmaid’s Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four is the elimination of privacy. The extent of the government’s use of reality control over the handmaids alone completely affects their abilities to act on their own impulses and think for themselves because they are forbidden from forming relationships with other people in society. It also makes them extremely suspicious of not only each other, but everything around them. In Gilead, the women function as lower class citizens while “the males in Gilead serve mostly paramilitary functions: lower echelon guards called Angels and an elite corps called guardians who frequently double as spies or Eyes” as stated by Elisabeth Hansot in her journal article entitled “Selves, Survival and Resistance in The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hansot 57). The complex social system the government creates involves a sort of hierarchy where each individual has a specific duty in society. This societal structure aids the expansion of government power because it does not allow for people to form relationships with others around them. “Individuals police each other” so the government can make sure no one is secretly opposing their rule (Laflen 106). Therefore, Offred tries “not to think too much [because] like the other things, thought must be rationed” (Atwood 10). Anything she thinks can easily compel her to say something she might regret because “the Republic of Gilead...knows no bounds. Gilead is within”
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