In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster teaches readers the meanings behind commonly used symbols, themes, and motifs. Many readers of all ages use this book as a guide to understanding messages and deeper meanings hidden in novels. The deeper literary meanings of various symbols in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are explained in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. By using Foster’s book, readers can better understand the symbols in The Handmaid’s Tale. In Atwood’s novel, symbolisms of sex, flowers, and color add to the development of the novel and the deeper meaning of the plot.
“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.
Often, we see a society’s cultural values reflected in its citizens. For example, the United States values equality, a standard that is shared in all facets including gender. The opposite is true of Gilead, a fictional society in Emily Bronte’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel’s main character, Offred, is subjected to degrading treatment simply because she is a woman. It becomes apparent that this repeated degradation has affected the protagonist’s mind. Through first-person point of view and the motif of eyes, Brontë establishes the effects of Gilead’s patriarchal society on Offred’s psychological and moral traits, revealing that the only way to survive in an oppressive society is to outwardly conform.
In both novels Frankenstein and The Handmaids Tale the question of what it means to be human is a reoccurring theme in which emphasizes the passions and desires every individual may have... There are both dark and bright sides of being human as overcontrolling passions may lead to madness, distress, and use of violence. Victor 's overpowering passion for knowledge led to him doing the extreme by playing God and bringing a creature to life in a world where it would never be accepted as society tends to only accept humans that are visually appealing- as for society what it means to be human depends mainly on the outer appearance. The monster wanted nothing more but compassion and human contact, something babies desire for the most, but since
In the handmaid’s tale, The republic of Gilead is a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, meaning there is no separation between the state and religion. Gilead is built on the biblical idea that men are more important than women. The bible also has an important role in the naming of objects, buildings and people. The most important, is the state itself. In the Old Testament, Gilead is a very fertile and therefore very desirable region in ancient Palestine. Atwood’s Gilead is the opposite of fertile but instead is an attempt to show how the government is clean and pure.
In the Handmaid 's Tale power is used to control the women and sort them into certain gender roles. Each women in the society of Gilead is assigned a certain job that is stereotypical of a woman 's job such as cooking, sex, and reproduction. These women are the lowest class in Gilead and have no control. The men have superior power of the women but the women such as Ofgeln and Offred gain control in power in their lives.
The book The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood is a literary masterpiece containing many symbols hidden in everything from the flowers to the clothes worn by the characters. These symbols are used to represent the purpose of the characters in Gilead, the setting of the book. The flower is a symbol for the sole reproductive role of the handmaids and the colors are used to symbolize how the characters are meant to behave, red meaning fertile, white for purity, green for service, and blue for sadness.
They take in woman that can give children to people that can’t have kids. They are tagged and taken in being taught that there special and if they say anything out of line the woman are sent to a place where there skin will peel away until they die.
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.
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.
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. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the novel critiques gender inequality and autocratic authority. The hierarchical class of men consists of Commanders, Angels, and Guardians. In particular, the Commanders are the highest-ranking social group in Gileadean society. The Commanders are represented as powerful men. They have leadership roles, autocratic governance, and are oppressors controlling the Gilead regime. However,
In terms of language, Gilead creates an official vocabulary within the society that ignores the natural order of a normal society in order to serve the needs of the new society’s elite such as the commander and the wifes. Having made it illegal for women to hold jobs and being restricted from ‘love’, Gilead creates a system of titles. Men are defined by their military rank whereas women are defined solely by their gender roles as Wives, Handmaids, or Marthas. Stripping them of permanent individual names strips them of their individuality, or tries to. Feminists and deformed babies are treated as subhuman, denoted by the terms “Unwomen” and “Unbabies.” Blacks and Jews are defined by biblical terms (“Children of Ham” and “Sons of Jacob,” respectively)
In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the Republic of Gilead actively represses women by forcing them into very narrowly defined, ultra-conservative gender roles. This totalitarian government strips women of all rights and protections, and imposes severe punishments for defiance. Pollution and disease had caused severe infertility in this society, drastically reducing birth rates. In an effort to reverse a drastic population decline, this thoroughly misogynistic and power-hungry regime, takes full control over the human reproductive process. Furthermore, the leadership uses various dehumanizing methods to achieve complete subservience of women to men. Some of these methods include destroying identity through classification, objectification, and indoctrination. Most women of Gilead are sufficiently repressed that they seem to accept their assigned roles, at least outwardly resigned to their fate. Atwood uses gender roles in The Handmaid’s Tale to show the lengths to which misogynistic totalitarian governments will go, to protect their dictatorships.
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.
Aunt Lydia’s more relevant quote in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, is the two freedoms, who gives the reader an accurate insight of the Gilead society. This quote exposes the contrast between the freedom before and after the settlement of the Republic of Gilead, and the mentality of the brainwashed nation. It is well known that the Gileadean era is a dystopia, but the reader must study deeper into both societies –Gileadean and pre-Gileadean- to understand which one is really worse. Before the appearing of the Republic of Gilead, freedom was seen as a person’s desire, however, on the Gileadean era, freedom is a collective idea. On the current community, freedom is settled by laws based on moral and social values, but ignoring the