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Danielle Scarvaglieri

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Danielle Scarvaglieri Compare & contrast the love relationships in 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and George Orwell's 1984 are pieces of dystopian literature which embody repressive regimes and governments that rule through oppression and state controlled technology. One would think that love could not possibly be incorporated into such novels. Its antithesis, hate is understandably weaved in and expected, given the genre. However, in 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale, two totalitarian stories, the authors have given their protagonists a love interest. It plays both a pivotal and underlying role. There appears many ways in which Atwood and Orwell have approached the love relationships. Both protagonists are highly suspicious of their prospective love interests. Nick and Julia have been introduced in the two novels by chapter four to some degree, the early introduction highlighting their significance as characters. The level on uncertainty is shown through Offred considering Nick to be fishy and Winston not doubting that Julia was spying on him. Both also play with the idea that they might be government agents, and these sentiments as very ironic as one comes to realise that they form relationships, of which a fundamental aspects is trust. The idea of this is to highlight the societies they live in. ...read more.


Compared to the manipulation of language we see throughout the novel, it emphasises the fact that not everything can be changed easily, be it language or feelings. The ways in which both affairs rebel against their respective systems are crucially different. In The Handmaid's Tale, Offred's situation pushed her towards Nick because she years to be touched by someone, to be felt so greedily. One can tell of the sexual frustration caused by the Gilead regime as Atwood saturates the scene where Offred is for the first time touched by Nick with the tension felt by them both. Using the present tense, short sharp sentences and Offred's intrinsic dialogue diverged by brief verbal exchanges between them both. To live in a society so devoid in love is the catalyst for her affair, as she considers the parodic ceremony with the Commander to be fucking, with no affection or tenderness, just like what one sees in 1984 with everyone's duty to the party. So in essence anything that goes beyond sex for procreation is illegal in the eyes of both Gilead and Oceania. Unlike Offred, Winston is desperate to love but to fulfil his needs sexually; the primary reason that drove him into the relationship in the first place, also Winston's frustration is the reason for his misogynistic feelings, and the motive behind his rebellion. ...read more.


However, she notes he seems indifferent to what she has to say, which includes her real name, implying a strong trust in him, considering him an idol. Perhaps the way he watches her when she talks is what wins us round to thinking he is interested in her, in what she has to say, that he listens thus showing he does truly care. But the lack of information leaves us with little to compare him with Offred, especially when one notes that their love making is more suggestive than explicit, as no real detail at all is given, therefore Nick remains a mysterious figure. He gives her an identity, and for a brief time she experiences something real, just as Julia has done for Winston in 1984. To conclude, the parallels and the dissimilarities are apparent throughout both the books. Both Winston and Julia, and Offred and Nick were two separate quantities thrown together with suspicion and chance. Both couples were suppressed in regimes where they had no extrinsic control, but together sought hope from each other in order to maintain a level of sanity whilst living in testing conditions assessing their degree of trust in one another. Yet through the use of narration, imagery and language we pick up the major and sometimes subtle differences in these two different, yet significantly similar relationships; how they as people are so alike yet incongruent at the same time. ...read more.

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