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

How successful is The Handmaid's Taleas a piece of science fiction?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature Beth Jackson How successful is The Handmaid's Tale as a piece of science fiction? The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood like many other science fiction novels draws on many problems in today's society and elaborates on them, showing what could happen in the future if we do not recognise these problems. It is predominately a novel of prophecy and warning. The novel portrays a grim future when the United States no longer exists. A highly organised group of right wing religious conservatives succeeds in setting off a revolution. They create a new society known as Gilead where women are stripped of all the freedoms that the feminist movement secured for them. The new Gilead society forces previously independent women to live by Old Testament values. The novel is set in American in the not too distant future, Atwood describes events in the past which have actually happened such as the Women's liberation movement of the 1960's and 70's which makes the novel sound truthful and believable. ...read more.

Middle

The story is told with the use of flashbacks so the reader has to finish the whole novel to piece together the story. The use of flashbacks also gives the novel a more believable and less formal edge as we learn about the narrators past as well as her present circumstances. A theme common in science fiction which is also evident in The Handmaid's Tale is one of trying to set up a utopian world which soon becomes apparent to be very much dystopian. Religion often plays a huge role in these new societies with people returning to past ideals. In the Handmaid's Tale the Old Testament is seen as a kind of rulebook on how life should be lived. These new and apparently 'perfect' societies soon become dictatorships. In a Brave New World like 'The Handmaid's Tale' there is no poverty or crime. Society is hierarchical with people knowing their place in the bigger scheme of things. It's only when people resist this that the true problems in these societies can be seen. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Colour coding of peoples clothes and the general methods of control in Gileadian society could be likened to Nazi Germany , Mao's China or even Stalin's Russia . The use of these events as things that could happen again in the future makes science fiction writing even more harrowing and frightening. A common theme in science fiction is the idea that nothing can be done without those in control knowing about it. In George Orwell's Nineteen eighty-four the phrase 'Big brother is watching you' was first introduced, this idea is very similar to the role of 'The eyes' in The Handmaid's Tale 'It occurs to me that she might be a spy , a plant ,set to trap me' In my opinion The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a brilliant piece of science fiction writing. It contains many of the generic conventions of a good science fiction novel. Like both Nineteen eighty-four and A Brave New World it is a commentary on today's society and what might happen if people continue to act the way they do .It criticises censorship of any kind i.e. pornography and shows what can happen if democracy is lost. ...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. Compare the ways in which narrative perspectives vary in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and ...

    and we therefore understand what freedoms Charles and Sarah are trying to achieve, but more importantly, it causes a blend in the two time periods. The way that the two novelists have presented cohesion between separate times, once again, reveals the differences in their perspectives on breaking the rules.

  2. Discuss how aspects of control are explored in

    Offred's objective descriptions and shocking narrative assist Atwood in her portrayal of the dehumanisation of women. The sentences are short with an indifferent tone in response to events, for example the Ceremony. "Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body."

  1. Examine the significance Religion plays in Gileadian society.

    We also see how powerful the Bible is to Gilead, as it clearly can be interpretive as a clear justification for Gileadian society. Gilead uses script to substantiate the role and lifestyle of the handmaids. 'blessed are the meek, blessed are the silent' this is the justification Gilead give their society for keeping the handmaids in solitude findings.

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

    question" from this, it can be seen that Fred was the "name of the gentlemen in question" and by placing the "possessive preposition" 'Of', at the beginning, the name Of/Fred occurs. By replacing Offred's real name with that of a man's, Atwood is illustrating to the reader that Gilead is

  1. Compare and contrast their representation of the different social and cultural forces which contribute ...

    Only when the uniform is removed at night does Offred seem to escape from the regime imposed upon her; "the night is mine" shows how she feels about night, her only chance to feel free without a loss of identity.

  2. Compare and contrast the narrative structures in 'White Teeth' and 'Beloved' and how the ...

    Throughout the novel, words like 'forgotten' are not used, the past is not forgotten, simply 'disremembered' and this accentuates it's importance in their live. Beloved relies on the past, it is the only link that she has with Sethe as her mother and the only way that she can learn how to live.

  1. In your opinion does Atwood use the first two chapters to provide the reader ...

    The only time the handmaids were allowed out was when the guards came in and sent them to walk around the football pitch twice daily in pairs. There is an amazing amount of detail to describe the setting of the gym.

  2. What do you find interesting about the ways in which Margaret Atwood presents relationships ...

    as paicularly ruthless, especially in contrast to Canada, which is where Atwood is from. The reader is told that the regime has not spread as far as Canada, which is significant considering that Canada is a more liberal country. This may be a wider critique of American life suggesting America

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