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In What Ways Does Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, and Atwood's The Handmaids Tale explore the Theme of Oppression?

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  • Essay length: 3412 words
  • Submitted: 11/12/2006
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GCSE Margaret Atwood

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In What Ways Does Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, and Atwood's The Handmaids Tale explore the Theme of Oppression?

The Handmaid's Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four can be described as dystopian novels as they both explore the theme of invented futuristic nightmare worlds, which are based on current, social, political and economic trends, and are warnings against possible future disasters. The theme of oppression runs constantly throughout both novels. Both these texts explore rule under a totalitarian government, in which only one party has complete rule. The characters in The Handmaid's Tale are under the rule of Gilead whilst Nineteen Eighty-four is an oligarchy, governed by a figure of supreme authority known as Big Brother, and members of the inner party.

In both texts the protagonists are being, and have been, oppressed in many different ways. The most obvious form of oppression and one that persists throughout both novels is the lack of personal freedom. Characters such as Winston Smith from Nineteen Eighty-four are all under the watchful eye of Big Brother. A telescreen is situated in each room which traces every single movement and sound made. "Any sound Winston made...would be picked up...so long as he

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