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George Orwell and Margaret Atwood

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Christopher Heal Mr Champion English Literature Yr13 December 10, 2004 George Orwell and Margaret Atwood are two writers famous for their politically themed books. Atwood is famous for her feminist views and Atwood for his political satires. In Orwell's 1984 and Attwood's The Hand Maid's Tale both authors use the theme of control as one of the main ideas. These ideas which run throughout the books help the reader learn about how the governments of these dystopiain societies keep and gain control over it's population. One of the main aspects of control that both authors highlight is that of communication. In 1984, communication is controlled through the Party's domination of language and all media outlets. The newspapers, TV and radio stations are all controlled by INGSOC. By owning and controlling the entire media the Party can expose the population to its intense use of propaganda. This use of propaganda influences the Party member's ideas. The Party uses the TV to report news of its wars. It also changes the paper's and TV reports to match what they want its members to think. They change facts placed in newspaper to match with what they are saying currently "copies which have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it." This shows clear evidence of the Party's control of the media and facts here. However the most important consequence of all this manipulation and control of the past is mainly that history is completely modified. For example, in 1984, Winston relays to the reader that the Party broadcasts that Oceania is at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. ...read more.


By using slogans the Party has gained even more control over it's members and in the book it is near completion of overall domination. In Handmaid's Tale the fanatical leaders of Gilead have also created a new language like The Party have in 1984. The language in Gilead warps reality in order to serve the needs of the new society's leaders. Women are given titles according to their newly created roles, Handmaids, Wives or Martha's. By creating this knew title the government control's there individuality. Deformed babies and feminist are now called "unwomen" and "Unbabies". Greetings have now changed and new phrases created. Failure to use these new greeting can cause suspicion of unloyalty. By controlling thier names and aspects of language, Gilead can maintain it's control over women and their bodies. By using a new language both Atwood and Orwell are exploring the link between the perversion of language and a government's repression. Handmaids are not also allowed to read and write in Gileadian society. Shop names are shown through symbols. Talking between a group of more than three is also strictly forbidden. Communication between one another is also highly dangerous as they have to monitor what they say as in 1984 no one can be trusted so not only do the population monitor what they say they also monitor what each other say out of fear. This can be shown through Offred when the new Ofglen Handmaid arrives. Offred does not know how to act around her as she does not know how devoted to the Gilead cause she is. ...read more.


The handmaids have a structured timetable just like Winston does in 1984. This allows the governments to know who is doing and when they are doing it. Just like in 1984 the Handmaids have a lack of freedom of movement. They are closely monitored by the angels and like in Orwell's book if they become suspects of not complying to the regime they will be killed. The two governments of Oceania and Gilead both use different forms of control to stay in power. 1984 appears to be the most successful at its method of using control to keep in power. By rewriting the having people follow the same routines, dress the same and use the same language it makes everyone one kind of person. This one person is easier to control as everybody is the same. In Gilead however there are lots of different groups who all think different and have different roles. It is harder to control the people of Gilead for this reason. Both totalitarianism governments use propaganda as the main point of trying to stay in control. They paint a picture of themselves that they know the people will like and be more likely to follow and it appears to work in both novels especially 1984 where people just accept any changes that happen and seem to forget anything they have been told that contradicts it. Overall both societies, in both books, achieve a dystopian totalinarism state where theyhave complete control but they achieve this in different ways. In 1984, Big Brother has made everyone the same as in Atwood's book people are split up into a hierarchy. Orwell removes individuality completely. It is due to this that 1984 is more successful in it's quest for total control. 2,782 ...read more.

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