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Explore the ways in which religion is presented and its importance in the Handmaid's tale.

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Introduction

Explore the ways in which religion is presented and its importance in the Handmaid's tale. Religion is presented in a numerous amount of ways in the Handmaid's tale. Christianity or Puritanism is the leading faith in Gilead and is portrayed as a controlling mechanism, which not only controls people's bodies but strives to control their minds. Inside Gilead biblical and religious references act as fundamental laws and polices towards the controlling regime of Gilead. The people within the regime of Gilead are subjected to harsh and rigid lifestyles. This is justified by the leaders of Gilead by the use of the bible. From Offred's perspective we can see the strictness of the regime that she lives in. For example "They can hit us there is scriptural precedent". ...read more.

Middle

However in this colour Offred sees herself as a "sister dipped in blood" this is ironic as "sister" is referring to a nun. Handmaids share many aspects of their lifestyles with living in a nunnery. For example the solitude and the excessive covering up of body parts. However there is one lifestyle trade that handmaids and nuns do not share. While nuns take a vow of celibacy, the sole purpose of Handmaid's is to have sexual intercourse. This view of Offred presents irony. In addition to this the use of "blood" may give the reader connotations of sin and misconduct. This reveals that Offred believes what she is doing is wrong and sinful. In addition to Offred's perspective, religion as a theme is introduce in the society of Gilead. ...read more.

Conclusion

Not only have the leaders of Gilead used the bible as political justification to their regime they have also invented new parts of the bible to further control people. "Blessed are the silent. I knew they made that up, I knew it was wrong, and they left things out too, but there was no way of checking." The fact that Gilead has made up new parts of the bible shows the leader have used fundamentalism as an excuse for the creation of the regime. In addition to this the fact that women had no way of checking shows they have no access to bibles therefore another practical part of religion is not in practise. Religion is presents the main strengths that Gilead uses to control the different positions and is used as a justification method. However religion is also what defeats Gilead as this is what gives Offred hope and faith. Miss Kemp Jonathan Azah A-Level English 19/12/07 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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