• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast how Atwood and Orwell use language in their regimes as a means of social control.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast how Atwood and Orwell use language in their regimes as a means of social control. Knowledge is power. Atwood and Orwell explore this idea in their dystopian novels The Handmaid's Tale and 1984. The Handmaid's Tale was written against the backdrop of the feminist movement. During this period Thatcher was elected as the first female Prime Minister in Britain. Although Thatcher was female she was masculine in her governance of the country. The Handmaid's Tale presents a society where the achievements of the feminist movement are suppressed and "The growing power of this "religious right" heightened feminist fears that the gains women had made in previous decades would be reversed." 1 Also, at the time of writing The Handmaid's Tale, there were many fundamentalist religious groups worldwide, for example in Iran, where women were veiled under the regime. Possibly, Atwood was warning of rule under a theocracy and encouraging society to promote religious diversity as a way of life. 1984 was written after World War 2 in 1948. Orwell's political beliefs are reflected in the novel. He was strongly opposed to the principles of Communism as practiced in the USSR, and Dictatorships, yet was committed to Socialism spending time as a homeless person in Paris, documented in 'Down and out in Paris and London'. He documented working life in 'The Road to Wigan Pier'. ...read more.

Middle

The Party controls the language they are allowed to use and this gradually eliminates most of the Oldspeak dictionary so that the Party members no longer know words other than those created by the Party in the Newspeak dictionary. Newspeak is a new language that proposes to abolish as many unnecessary words as possible in an attempt to eradicate dissent. They are 'cutting the language down to the bone'. The removal of knowledge and capacity for thought is key to preventing the creation of dissidents. The populations in both novels are told what to think say and do. Both protagonists are wary of who they talk to and fear being caught saying the wrong thing. In 1984 Winston is careful of what he says to Syme and he concludes that 'One of these days...Syme will be vaporized. He is too intelligent'. In this dystopian society language and knowledge are detrimental to the survival of people in the society. Even paralinguistic features are dangerous. When Nick is first introduced in The Handmaid's Tale he winks at Offred and Offred instantly assumes that "Perhaps it was a test...Perhaps he is an Eye". Professionally, Winton is a revisor of the past. He re-writes history so that it matches the 'current party line'. In 1984 the act of 'facecrime' can result in imprisonment.Offred's occupation before the regime took over was in the transfer of hard copies of books to electronic copies. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is a further reconstruction as Professor Pieixoto reconstructs Offred's narrative. The 'Historical Notes 'are a structural device to show that the regime has been overthrown as it is set in the future where people are discussing what happened in Gilead in the past. Similarly, the appendix in 1984 is written in the past tense, showing that Newspeak is a thing of the past. The 'Historical Notes' show that sexism is still alive in society as the language used is full of sexual innuendo. Professor Pieixoto makes sexist jokes such as using the terms 'tails' and 'frailroad' during his speech and we are led to believe that his views reflect the views of society. "The Professor neglects the most crucial element on this story: Offred herself".11 The Professor focuses on the identity of the Commander as opposed to the struggles that Offred faced in the patriarchal Gilead. He does not take Offred's account as fact and sidesteps "the critical moral issues raised by her account" 12. Offred's narrative is an episodic one. It is not in chronological order like Winston's in 1984. Atwood does not use a linear narrative as if she did she would not be able to tell Offred's story fully and she enjoys giving tiny snippets of information about Offred's past enticing us to read more. Atwood and Orwell astutely exploit language as it reflects a crucial element of civilisation. Both novels warn against the possibility of a dystopian future and how easily it can happen. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Likewise, Madox dies in a holy place, taking his life in a church England. This idea of death in sacred places recurs throughout the work, but the meaning of such places in the novel is complex. "Holy place" does not signify a place that is holy to individual people: Katharine

  2. The Female is Nothing But the Body To what extent do you agree with ...

    describes how the equality that she once had in her relationship, has declined, and she is powerless, and Luke's subordinate.Throughout the novel Atwood describes how it is not just the handmaids who succumb to the rapid reversal in the Gileadean society.

  1. The Use of The Four Elements in The Wars

    This welcomes them into the religion and cleanses them of their sin. "In Christianity, baptism is the sacramental act of cleansing in water that admits one as a full member of the Church."("Baptism") After Robert is in a skirmish with the soldier who had come to kill Rowena's rabits, he finds himself in a bathtub nursing his wounds.

  2. Vulnerability is one of the key themes that is explored throughout Blakes poetry Songs ...

    In the extract from Atwood's novel the alliteration of "Soul Scrolls" as well as the capitalisation of the letters shows the importance of religion in this society which is seen as a positive thing within the upper levels of that society however those such as the handmaids consider it to be very corrupt similar to Blake's poem.

  1. Totalitarianism and Censorship in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

    Several conflicting frames of mind have played defining roles in shaping humanity throughout the twentieth century. Vision of a bright future held by humanity was taken advantage of by the promise of a better life through sacrifice of individuality to the state.

  2. Control, submission and rebellion in the novels The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, Memoirs ...

    extravagant life while the rest of the districts suffer from the control of President Snow. The Capitol forces teenagers from all the districts to complete to their death. Katniss Everdeen serves as the main protagonist in the novel. In Panem the gap between the rich and the poor is massive.

  1. Compare and contrast the ways Margret Atwood and William Blake present the power of ...

    Janine seems to gain strength with pregnancy, she is seen ?glowing?; whereas she previously appeared weak to everyone. Gilead?s manipulation is emphasised with the quote: ?From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.? which the government ironically claim is from the Bible, yet it is a

  2. How are dystopias portrayed in The Handmaids Tale and 1984?

    human is itself something which no longer applies to the current state as a consequence of the levels of control. We are reminded of this as a risk through the example of Offred?s ?I hurt, therefore I am?, which not only adds a psychological dimension to our mode of reading

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work