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

Explore the ways Atwood presents the ideas of freedom and imprisonment in The Handmaids Tale.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the ways Atwood presents the ideas of freedom and imprisonment in The Handmaids Tale. "The Handmaids Tale" is set in a dystopia. This suggests a society where everything is wrong. However, this is clearly not the case in Gilead. There are aspects of the society, which are unjust, but equally there are certain facets that are an improvement over modern day society. This is shown quite clearly in Atwood's depiction of freedom and imprisonment. One of the key 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 "days of anarchy" where we have freedom to. It is this significant difference that affects the whole of the Gileadean society, and through this the whole of Atwood's novel. Does Atwood influence our views of the freedom and imprisonment through her use of words? ...read more.

Middle

She is also not totally protected from unwanted attention, " As we walk away I know they're watching, these two men who aren't yet permitted to touch women. They touch with their eyes instead...". The very people who should be protecting the vulnerable women are the ones abusing, as is common in police states. The "freedom to" in our society is described in the handmaid's tale in a number of ways. The Japanese tourists are wearing similar clothing and doing similar things to what they do nowadays. "The skirts reach just below the knee and the legs come out from beneath them, nearly naked in their thin stockings,". This clothing would be considered perfectly normal within society and women have freedom to wear it as they please. "Then I think: I used to dress like that. That was freedom. Westernized, they used to call it." Atwood uses Offred's memories of before the insurrection to show how much the society has changed. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is further shown in Atwood's portrayal of imprisonment. It is mainly the women depicted as being imprisoned and restricted. Of the people sent to the colonies, most are women. This could be just the idea behind Atwood's society but it could equally be Atwood's own feminist agenda shining through. In conclusion I believe that Atwood has carefully created these large contrasts of attitudes and values in an attempt to make them even more shocking. The choice of Offred as narrator further serves to heighten these points. Offred has memories of freedoms she has both gained and lost but takes no action. From our viewpoint this is weak-willed but in truth it is probably Offred's only chance. Offred is impartial and gives us a viewpoint of one who has no control yet must still live with the consequences. This is the position most readers would find themselves in. Atwood gives a fair view of a society in complete control. Glenn Selwood Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Margaret Atwood 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 GCSE Margaret Atwood essays

  1. The Handmaid's Tale - What are the main methods of control in the Gileadean ...

    attend the birth and turn the event into a part on this day the handmaids can 'do anything we want,' because a child is seen as a gift and this becomes a special day. An emerge van is parked outside the house of the birth, full of equipment and doctors,

  2. Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in The Handmaids Tale

    a nice caring middle aged woman but in Gilead that is not the case, the Aunts show that they are a true believer of the new system and devote themselves entirely to it by teaching the handmaids this new way of life and because of this the handmaids cannot form a friendship with the Aunts.

  1. The Gothic Elements in the HandMaid's Tale.

    7) As the story is told, we learn that she has been taken away from her husband and child and does not know what has happened to them and vice versa. The constant unknown destiny of her tiny family tortures her mind and at times she is so overwhelmed

  2. In What Ways Does Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, and Atwood's The Handmaids Tale explore ...

    After exploring The Handmaid's Tale one can see that Offred and the other characters in the novel are restricted in every single aspect of their lives. For example, when Offred goes shopping, she acknowledges the fact that, even here, the only time that she is allowed to leave the house, she is restricted.

  1. Compare and contrast "The Wars" and "The Handmaid's Tale".

    (Atwood 145) Citizens in "The Wars" and in "The Handmaid's Tale" not only take part in ceremonies, which are designed to make them feel satisfied with the society in which they live, but are lied to by the government. Perhaps the most poignant criticism of the societies in these two novels is the violation of the principals and mores of modern society.

  2. Early in the novel Atwood presents us with the division between ladies and women

    Mrs Humphrey especially when receiving the money from Dr Jordan "she'd had to restrain herself from snatching at it" This makes the reader feel sorry for her.

  1. The Handmaid's Tale

    The fanatical pursuance of religious values also explains the way in which unpleasant acts, such as the 'ceremony' and 'birthing ritual' are considered necessary, as they are ingrained in the core ideologies that the society represents ("which of us is worse for, her or me?"

  2. Explore the way in which Margaret Atwood presents Moira 'The Handmaid's Tale'. Refer closely ...

    of her flight; the thought of Moira's freedom made the other Handmaid's feel 'dizzy'. Atwood purposely withholds this information to let the reader share in this feeling of suspense; the mystery surrounding Moira at this point enhances her charisma. Offred recalls the Handmaids feeling a sense of victory over the

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