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

The Handmaid's Tale. Chapter 10 - Textual Analysis.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature. The Handmaid's Tale. Chapter 10- Textual Analysis. Atwood begins by establishing a dismal atmosphere, '...something lugubrious, mournful, presbyterian'. Offred explains that the Gileadian regime has outlawed any form of contact with music; singing or listening to. The totalitarian regime sees music as a threat to its existence, '...especially the ones that use words like free. They are considered too dangerous.' Music has immense power; the messages behind the music being of great strength. Gilead has not only outlawed songs about freedom but also songs about love; 'I feel so lonely, baby. I feel so lonely I could die. This too is outlawed'. In prohibiting music, Gilead in essence, has banned feelings of love, compassion and desire, companionship and celebration. Gilead exists to rid the world, or its society at the very least, of such feelings. However, music proves to be much more powerful as, like the narrator, not all abide by the laws set down by the legislators. Evidence is given to show that there is resistance to this regime, minute may be, but resistance nonetheless. 'Such songs are not sung anymore in public...' suggest that they are sung in private. However, interestingly enough, it is not only the handmaids which show this resistance; through Serena Joy we see another form of resistance. ...read more.

Middle

Offred remembers the spectacular, highly convincing, moralistic speech performed by Aunt Lydia with regards to their uniform. 'The spectacle women used to make of themselves'. Women would put on a lavish public show to attract men and they were dangerous as a result of this. 'Spectacle' could mean, more so from a male opinion, an impressive sight but in this context Aunt Lydia's definition is the exact opposite; a ridiculous sight. 'Oiling themselves like roast meat on a spit, and bare backs and shoulders, on the street, in public, and legs, not even stockings on them, no wonder those things used to happen to them'. The implication that women are to blame for being assaulted or raped is Puritanical. Her speech is that passionate and convincing that it is not hard to imagine Aunt Lydia actually held these old fashioned, religious convictions in the time before. It is possible that Atwood intended irony with reference to the song that Offred was singing at the beginning of the chapter and the views shared by the regime and in particular the views expressed by Aunt Lydia in this chapter. 'Amazing grace, how sweet the sound Could save a wretch like me, Who once was lost, but now I'm found Was bound, but now am free.' ...read more.

Conclusion

'Is that how we lived then?' Human nature is adaptable. Initially the environment had been completely alien to her and although she may not be at ease with it, it has become more natural for her. The narrator from the time before is a representative of a 'normal' woman. 'We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.' Ignorance is when knowledge is lacking and to ignore is not to take notice of. Clearly, the narrator was not ignorant to the changes that were occurring she simply chose to detach herself from it; she chose to ignore. She was what we would call ordinary. Freedom was gained by ignoring and not becoming involved, 'It gave us more freedom'. Perhaps Atwood is being critical of the reader here, suggesting that we as a human race are too passive about issues which could ultimately be life changing or life threatening. Also, perhaps the narrator is also being critical of herself with reference to her missing out on the demonstrations that took place before the regime was fully established. 'We lived in the gaps between the stories.' and this is perhaps what we do as ordinary people in our everyday lives. Dramatic things happen to others. We observe from the sidelines. November 2003 Miss. Slocombe Nasima Begum 12B Pg 1 of 3 ...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. Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in The Handmaids Tale

    be too afraid to subvert against these phrases " The truth is that she is my spy, as I am hers." If it was known that one of the Handmaids was against the system of Gilead it would be publicly known and the handmaid would be punished severely so it

  2. How is Gilead presented to us over the opening nine chapters of "The Handmaids ...

    in which women are viewed, and the dresses that the women have to wear. In the Muslim religion, the women are seen solely for the purpose of having children, as are the handmaids. Islamic women are no allowed to be viewed by men in a sexual way, so they must

  1. "The Handmaids Tale" By Margaret Atwood, "The importance of being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde ...

    She knows what he wants to ask but is refusing to continue without him 'doing it properly' and uses imperatives to hurry his proposal while telling him before hand that she 'fully intends to accept', breaking Grice's maxim. She controls the entire conversation, when she uses informal language Jack uses

  2. Examine the significance Religion plays in Gileadian society.

    However it seems as though a lot of the time god in a sense is Gilead, and it is Gilead who benefits from the handmaids being silent and their reward is not sending them to the concentration camps. Offred takes little notice of this script and responds 'I knew they made that up, I knew it was wrong'.

  1. 19th Century short stories - womens rights

    However, the fact that the narrator has no name could mean that Charlotte Perkins Gilman wanted the narrator to symbolise all women at that time. The narrator seems to have a lack of self esteem and is unsure about her thoughts and what she wants to say.

  2. How effective is the opening chapter of The Handmaids Tale?

    This usage of time goes on in the novel and is a way in which the writer can convey the feeling that the current situation has not always been that way, and that once this oppression didn't exist. As you read the opening chapter, the tone of the text comes

  1. What I have learnt so far about the Regime in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    The Aunts use, 'cattle prods', conveying the impression to the reader that they are treated like animals also suggesting a lack of identity to the women. The Angels, however who are even of a stronger status than the Aunts, 'aren't allowed inside the building', and stand with their backs facing

  2. What analysis of the female role does Margaret Atwood offer in ' The Handmaid's ...

    Enforcers of the regime, such as the Aunts believe that this is a better, safer world for women. One of them states that in the time before, women had freedom to, and now they have freedom from. This means that they will not be raped or abused, they will not

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