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

How Far is The Handmaids Tale a Dystopian Text, Specifically at the Regime of Gilead and its Successes and Flaws?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Far is The Handmaids Tale a Dystopian Text, Specifically at the Regime of Gilead and its Successes and Flaws? 'The Handmaids Tale' is set in a society where everything is wrong, which would usually suggest that it was a dystopian novel, yet while a 'dystopia' is generally defined as a society 'in which the conditions of life are extremely bad as from deprivation or oppression or terror' this is clearly not the whole case when it comes to Gilead. This is because while there are many aspects of the regime which are unjust and morally wrong compared to modern values, there are certain parts of the society which are improved. This is shown quite clearly in Atwood's depiction of freedom and imprisonment. One of the main expressions used within the novel is 'Freedom to' and 'freedom from'. We are told that in Gilead you are given freedom from, as opposed to in our modern 'days of anarchy' where we have freedom to do as we please. It is this difference that affects the Gileadean society, and through this the whole of Atwood's novel, and what ultimately makes it a dystopia. ...read more.

Middle

They 'brainwash' the handmaids by showing them old pornographic films and photographs, and by telling them how badly women were treated in 'the time before'. They also insult the previous society by emphasising that women in 'the old days' were disgusting and that they had no self respect. The point of the Red Centre is to turn young, fertile women from 'the time before' into Gilead sympathising Handmaids, and this is most strongly seen affecting Janine. Out of all the people who attend the red centre, she is the one who seems to agree with the regime after being brainwashed by 'the aunts', and in the end, she is the one who is rewarded; she is the only Handmaid we hear about in the novel that actually has a baby. This is significant because it shows that in the dystopian society which Atwood has created, only the people who adhere to the regime are rewarded. Anyone seen to rebel is punished, as is mostly seen in Moira, who escapes the 'Red Centre' after threatening one of the aunts and posing as her to escape. Later in the novel, we see that she has ended up in Jezebel's, the lowest place a woman can get to in the society. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Handmaid's Tale, the handmaids are deprived of love, are oppressed because they are not allowed to think, or have a full life, and they live in terror that they may be executed or sent to 'the colonies' to die. This is the reason that, despite its flaws, Gilead is a success; and this, in itself, makes The Handmaid's Tale a dystopian novel. It is realistic and frightening to read, just like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, because it connects to so many real-life events that we as a reader feel like it could actually happen in the near future. The use of news stories in the novel such as overfishing and infertility are prevalent in today's society, and the use of surveillance is something which is being documented in our own news. These relations to our reality make the audience aware of how similar Gilead actually is to the society in which we live, and make The Handmaid's Tale far more 'speculative fiction' than simply 'Science Fiction'. The general public opinion seems to be that it is 'incredibly inventive, moving and really quite frightening', and it shows that Atwood gets her main message across when the reviewer says 'let us hope it is not too prophetic. ...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 The Handmaid's Tale 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 The Handmaid's Tale essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How Does Atwood present women in the Handmaid's Tale?

    4 star(s)

    By having the protagonist being an angry but actively submissive character, Atwood is warning us about doing nothing in the face of inequality, however Offred gradually gains the confidence to use her womanliness and sexuality to get some power and control in her life.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Compare how a sense of claustrophobia is built up in the Handmaids Tale and ...

    4 star(s)

    a "riot is bursting out within my senses" which further reflects how his repressed senses are desperate to escape the confinement, without his freedom of mind Keenan finds himself completely trapped.

  1. Presentation and significance of settings in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    There are bridges, trees and green banks and "young men with their naked arms." Offred talks of the old dormitories, "with their fairytale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. These things are reminders of the past. On the other hand, when speaking about the present the reader is given a negative image.

  2. Compare the character and role of Janine and Moira in "The Handmaid's Tale"

    Nevertheless at one point in the novel that both appear as if they have essentially been manipulated by society, the difference is that Janine is working legally In the Gilead world, whereas Moira is working in its "underworld." However they have both given up on the return to the society before.

  1. Analysis of an extract from the Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Despite the dull and melancholy descriptions made by the narrator, the place in which the narrator walks around is described as a model house: "polished hallway, like a path through the forest, like a carpet for royalty", "late Victorian", "the ancient grandfather clock in the hallway", and a "motherly front

  2. Explain how control and rebellion are presented in 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood

    In 2007, 27 youths were murdered due to knife and gun related crime which makes certain aspects of Gilead seem valuable, but the majority of the new rules are so restrictive that, in essence, people live in the same fear.

  1. Discussion of Womens Culture In "A Handmaids Tale".

    During the birth, no anesthetics or modern technology is used to decrease the pain, nor are there doctors present. In this day and age that would almost be considered barbaric. Moira is a representation of a woman that no longer exists under the power of the regime.

  2. What is the Significance of the Scrabble Game to the Development of the Novel ...

    ?This was once the game of old women, old men, in the summers or in retirement villas.? What was a game of innocence in the past is now forbidden.

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