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In what ways does the Dystopia presented in "The Handmaid's Tale" serve as a warning?

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In what ways does the Dystopia presented in "The Handmaid's Tale" serve as a warning? This essay explores how dystopia can serve as a warning in a society of inequality, oppression and lack of freedom. It shows how extreme views can be dangerous and what can happen when human rights are breached. The Handmaid's Tale is an account of one of the major character's third post in the Republic of Gilead formerly the USA. This novel is set in the 20th century under a patriarchal regime, founded on a fundamental Christian movement. This society is ruled by the government using force, brutality and State controlled technology. Lessons from the bible are distorted as a means of control to reinforce their inhumane state practices. All forms of communication are banned. Women are categories according to age, marital status and their ability to reproduce. Men are categorised according to age and their worthiness as a commander of the elite faith of Jacob. ...read more.


Offred's mother's desire of 'being absolved by history' is unfulfilled as she is labelled 'unwoman'. Serena Joy is trapped in Gilead's interpretation of her ideology as truly seen by Offred: "she stays in her home, but it doesn't seem to agree with her" Offred is portrayed in her 'life before' as intelligent, educated and sensible. Offred notices that the values of society that once stood are declining but decides to ignore this. With hindsight she declares "We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it." There is evidence of the break down of previous society throughout. For example, marriage is devalued and Offred agrees when Moria scolds her for going out with a married man, describing Offred as 'poaching another woman's man'. Offred also relates how her daughter was almost snatched in a supermarket, again in hindsight 'I thought it was an isolated incident at the time' There are other references throughout regarding the increased violence, high rate of sexual freedom, high numbers of rape, spread of sexually transmitted disease, etc. ...read more.


"The greater the risk the greater the glory" At a later point the commander defends the policies of Gilead when speaking to Offred "We though we could do it better" "Better never means better for everyone" "It always means worse, for some." This novel could be seen as idealistic but unrealistic at the same time. In conclusion, this novel, it could be argued, is very disturbing as it relates to a wide number of issues that we have to deal with in modern life. For example, the dictatorships of Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. This is a warning of what could happen if we let it. This is a society characterised by inequality and lack of freedom. Another example is Afghanistan where women do not have the freedom to speak, dress and live an equal life. This is frightening that her ideas have been taken from modern history so her ideas can be related to real life. Natalie Hough The Handmaid's Tale - Assignment Four ...read more.

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