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

Using the Lord's prayer as a starting point, discuss the use of religion in 'A Handmaid's Tale.'

Extracts from this document...


Using the Lord's prayer as a starting point, discuss the use of religion in 'A Handmaid's Tale.' In 'A Handmaid's Tale' religion is a major theme, probably the most dominant. There are many references to religion, although most are not explicit. Religion is simply a constant undertone which manifests a greater depth to the novel. Firstly, the location is biblical. Gilead was a restorative mountainous region in ancient Palestine that is referred to in the Old Testament. 'Balm in Gilead,' it is the image of an embattled state. It was a place for reconditioning your spirits (Myrrh), and it was renamed [to Gilead] when the regime started. Even things like the shops in town have a biblical link. 'Lilies of the Field' for instance is a reference to the beautiful flowers spoken of in the Old Testament. 'Milk and Honey' refers to the promised land. ...read more.


Janine's confession was like a confession, however instead of being a private confession, it was done in front of all of the other girls. "It was my fault, she says. It was my own fault. I led them on. I deserved the pain." The concept of confessing your sins in order to be forgiven is still present, but now it is solely to act as an example for the other girls, to keep them in line thus making it less biblical and less of a soul purification. When Offred arrives at her new residence, Atwood explains the clothing choices. The commander's wives are dressed in blue. Light blue is a colour that is linked to the virgin Mary. They are in fact subliminally suggested to be Virgin Mary figures as they did not fornicate, yet still are given a child. ...read more.


The regime criminalises anything that interferes with reproduction, "God's gift", this is why the doctor's who performed abortions were hung with the installment of the regime. Prior to the ceremony, the whole household gathers in the living room to hear the Commander read extracts from the bible. This is to remind them of the purpose of sex, something that is biblical and is to produce a child, not for pleasure or recreation. The commander reads the bible with discomfort, as described by Atwood, and during the reading Offreds mind wanders. This demonstrates how people are not truly dedicated to the religious side, it is simply a formality for them. Even at the Prayvaganza we get the impression that people are not there to pray and genuinely care about it because Atwood writes, "...Attendance at the Prayvaganza isn't compulsory...but the galleries seem to be filling up anyway. I suppose it's a form of entertainment, like a show or a circus. ...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. Examine how Atwood presents Offred's sense of self in "The Handmaid's Tale"

    an active woman who is willing to fight for what she wants. Word Count 1,461 Bibliography Atwood, Margaret. (1986). The Handmaid's Tale. Vintage Books, UK. (1996). Orwell, George. (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. (Modern Classics edition). Penguin Books, UK. (1987). 1 www.bianys.org/learnet/tutorials/sense-of-self-personal-identity 2http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071120/LIFESTYLE01/711200311/1031/lifestyle01 3 The Handmaid's Tale.

  2. How Far is The Handmaids Tale a Dystopian Text, Specifically at the Regime of ...

    in the novel; she presents it as futile, because rebelling only leads to Moira being worse off. This in turn is an example of Atwood trying to tell the audience to rebel against the 'big brother' society in which we live, before it is too late.

  1. how does margret atwood use language as a tool of oppression

    The women in society are dressed according to their social functions which includes colour, the repeat of colours display a link between the statuses of the citizens. 'Everything except the wings around my face are red' and 'gathered to a flat yolke that extends' creates an image of confinement and

  2. Analyse Atwood's narrative & linguistic approaches and how chapter 9 contributes to the novel ...

    over me delicately like a blind man reading Braille, skilled moulding me like a vase". The use of the simile "like a blind man reading Braille" suggests he uses touch as a substitute for sight and "moulding me like a vase" reminds us of Joe's occupation.

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

    This will be discussed in more depth as one of the tactics used throughout as a means of control. Offred frequently recalls the "time before" when it "wasn't safe to go jogging at night, answer the door even to a policeman or leave doors and windows unlocked", which readers of

  2. Comparison between Soul Scrolls (pg 175) and Offreds prayer (pg 205) in 'The Handmaid's ...

    you repeat it the better a chance they have of getting what they want. There is also a value in articulating feelings to people you love because it?s comforting. God is a conscious living entity aware of people?s love. Nevertheless, Gilead completely restricts this because the Handmaids? have been brainwashed

  1. By close examination of the themes and narrative technique, show how Margaret Atwood conveys ...

    Offred continually creates questions left unanswered, ?What were they??, which shows her uncertainty and unsettlement within Gilead. Location which were once familiar, are now hostile to Offred, such as the road where her and Luke used to walk by Harvard University.

  2. Handmaids Tale. Explore Atwoods presentation of Imagery. How does it affect your interpretation of ...

    Sometimes her realistic recording is overlaid by memories of the past closely associated with particular places that she passes on her walks, so that the present dissolves into landscape of memory. Atwoods use of puns shows Offreds ability to not be flattened by the doctorial system of Gilead.

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