1.1. Background to the Study It is not easy to go through Margaret Atwood’s writing without thinking of Canada and of women (Fiamengo, 11). Atwood isalways afraid of losing her country/identity: 'We need to know about here (Canada) because here is where we (Canadians) live ' (Survival, 19). Margaret Atwood (1939) is a Canadian novelist, poet, critic and dramatist. She creates literature to embody how Canada and women are humiliated and defeated (Grace, 1980).
Writers like George Orwell and Margaret Atwood, use their works to depict social issues and political issues like sexism (Atwood), and surveillance (Orwell and Atwood) in society. In Atwood's book The Handmaid's tale, the main character Offred is a woman living in a theocracy who has been denied the right to own property, to work, and to read. She is also a handmaid, one of the few fertile women left in a future world whose only job is to provide children for whichever wealthy family they are assigned to. This book touches upon many daily issues that women face in modern society. Through Atwood's excellent use of symbols, this allows readers to make real world connections, thus, making the characters, plot, and setting seem more substantial.
The fact that The Handmaid's Tale is based on past events and is still referenceable thirty years later shows the importance of this story. In an piece she wrote on the novel in regard to the current political climate, Atwood stated "In this divisive climate, in which hate for many groups seems on the rise and scorn for democratic institutions is being expressed by extremists of all stripes, it is a certainty that someone, somewhere - many, I would guess - are writing down what is happening as they themselves are experiencing it Or they will remember, and record later, if they can." (atwood on a what it means in age of trump). There might be even more Offreds and books like The Handmaid's Tale in the future. Overall, the themes of segregation, lack of rights, and sexual repression are relatable and can be found frequently in the novel and within the world at
All of the things I have written about ...have been done before, more than once..." (316). Atwood seems to choose only the most threatening, frightening, and atrocious events in history to parallel her book by specifically the enslavement of African Americans in the United States. She traces the development of this institution, but from the perspective of a different group of oppressed people:
Atwood clearly emphasizes this point through the inclusion of Offred 's inner thoughts; which in turn, help to illuminate to the reader the process of this deterioration. Atwood also shows how the Republic of Gilead uses totalitarianism tactics, which parallel those used in North Korea, in order to remain in control. In The Handmaid’s tale, a dystopian novel, Margaret Atwood uses imagery and allusion throughout the novel to illustrate how the republic of Gilead uses techniques to deteriorate one 's mind in order to maintain their power. Throughout the dystopian country
Symbolism in “The handmaid’s tale” by Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood is a Canadian-born writer who is famous for her novels, poems and short stories. She was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and studied at Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Atwood has received several prizes on her literature works which most characteristic is the depiction of stories about strong women, who have to go through difficult situations. Her novels mainly describe political chaos and societies in which women are oppressed and abused. This can be seen in one of her most renowned novels: “The handmaid’s Tale”, published in 1985 and which portrays the life in Gilead, a new society which emerged after a group of rebels assassinated the President.
Her message is that if we continue to ignore the mistreatment of women, our society will look like the society of Gilead. Atwood’s use of irony is most prominent in the historical notes section of the novel. After reliving Offred’s horrific experience of repression in Gilead, we are presented with a group of scientist who are studying Gilead’s society many years after Gilead’s extinction. Atwood vividly describes the dangers and horrors of a society that subjugates women through Offred’s narrative. However, when studied by the scientist, they are insensitive and patronizing to the subjects of their research.
She never describes men as overtly more powerful than women and never includes how men have changed things, only women. Her sex life is completely regiment by Serena, giving her no room for intimacy without a witness. Atwood uses Serena’s intrusion to show “an early example of Atwood’s emphasis upon the body” in her novels about women to add a focus “with women’s position within power structures that seek to contain them” (Davies 61). This concern is exemplified in Serena’s imposition of an underground relationship on Offred. Atwood’s point in creating such an unusual dynamic of sexual control is a comment on women’s traditional role in society and how demeaning it is.
Atwood incorporates this historical context by referencing the impact the continuation of laws and anti-abortionists opinions shared throughout this time period became a reality. Atwood does this by making readers imagine a strangely dystopian and yet worryingly relatable society. One such reference is Atwood’s reference to Ronald Reagan 's strict anti-abortion viewpoints. Reagan viewed abortion as a crime and sought to force women to carry the child to term. This is incorporated into the text when Atwood shows characters actively blaming others for miscarriages and subjecting the victims of such tragedies to scandal and humiliation.
The Religion Influences in The Handmaid’s Tale Word Count: 1563 This purpose of this essay is to establish and explain connections between the Christian Religion and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. It is not attempting to point out flaws or discriminate against the religion. Margret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a dystopian novel, that centres around the themes of corruption, oppression, and theocracy. Told in the first person, the novel follows the female ‘Offred’ in her daily life/activities and past experiences in the newly founded “Republic of Gilead”. From my personal research, the events in the novel were influenced by negative situations that involved the American society prior to the 1980’s.