Similarities Between 1984 And The Handmaid's Tale

1071 Words5 Pages

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984 is a handbook for all dystopian novels. The Totalitarian government is able to obtain total control over Oceania and its citizens through language and thought. The manipulation tactics in this book are used throughout the dystopian world, especially in The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood builds off of Orwell’s infernal society to create an opposing world, with a set of different issues. In the classics, 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale the governments are able to attain ultimate power through restricted thought and language. Mind Control is the most potent form of control Big Brother has over the Outer party. Big Brother’s main focus is to have ultimate power over society. They can obtain and maintain this …show more content…

This form of control makes everything in Big Brother a mental game. Winston notices this and wonders, “If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable…what then?" (53) Winston understands that his mind is the only non-malleable element in this society. All books are burned, newspapers are rewritten, and all stats published by the Party is propaganda. His mind is the only thing he can control but yet he has very little control over it. The human mind is very influential and everyone adapting to Big Brother’s way causes Winston to struggle to keep his thoughts aligned. The human mind being persuasive is evident in both 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale. Both dystopian governments attempt to alter civilians' minds to align with their goals. Both societies have different objectives, but similar ways of controlling their society. 1984 relies on the re-education of the older generation, the impressionable youth, and the emotion of fear. Gilead, the government in The Handmaid’s Tale, similarly uses re-education and fear as driving factors. The only difference is in The Handmaid’s Tale the women are …show more content…

Newspeak, the official language, is the only language that gets smaller every single year. The meanings of words are no longer coherent with prefixes and are used to replace synonyms and antonyms. The purpose of Newspeak is “[to] make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words to express it.” (52) The term, “thought crime” is loosely defined as a thought which disagrees with the party's illusion. This gives Big Brother control because it limits a person's ability to express themselves. If there are no words to express their thoughts, then The Party is safe from a rebellion. There will be no words that exist with a strong enough meaning to grab an audience's attention. The government of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale takes a similar approach to limiting speech. The Handmaids are only allowed to speak to each other in Biblical terms. This restriction to spoken language can also restrict the Handmaid’s ability to fulfill their thoughts. When Handmaids repeatedly speak they can only use phrases like, “under his eye,” "praise be," or "blessed be the fruit." Forcing language onto someone limits their ability to make meaningful relationships. Both Gilead and Big Brother did not want friendship or relationships to be normalized in society. Big Brother barely wanted to have marriage and sex, causing them to implant phrases into women's heads.

Open Document