• 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 - What do you find interesting about the way that Atwood presents women in the novel? Focus on two characters in your answer.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Handmaid's Tale What do you find interesting about the way that Atwood presents women in novel? Focus on two characters in your answer. The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel about a handmaid's transcripts account of her third posting in the early 20th Century of the Republic of Gilead; formerly known as the United States of America. The Republic is a patriarchal regime founded on fundamental Christian response to the declining of Caucasian birth rates. The government rules through force and oppression and also by distorting Biblical teachings as means of justifying inhuman state practices. Women are classed according to their marital statues, age and reproductive systems, while men are categorised according to age and membership as Commander in the Faith. Older single women, homosexual men and barren handmaids are sent to the Colonies to clean after warfare and toxic spills which will eventually cause their premature death. A Handmaid serves as a surrogate mother for infertile wives of Commanders. The Handmaid's Tale shares many striking resemblances with George Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four; both novels tell of a near-future society governed by elite and characterised by distorted language. ...read more.

Middle

the women in the society at the time the novel was set involved in creating the Gilead regime; feminists takes part in activities such as campaigning against pornographic materials and disrupting beauty contests because they believe that they are degrading to women, Atwood is saying that by protesting against such, they are agreeing that censorship should be brought in and that women should be 'protected' from such material; at the heart of the Gilead regime is the 'protection women'. Margaret Atwood is challenging militant feminists to decide at what cost are they ready to pay in order create the matriarchal society they are campaigning for. Also Atwood is warning the readers that the notion of the need 'protect women' can be dangerous; it could slip from a demand for more freedom to a kind of neo-Victorianism, after all it was the need to 'protect women' that justified all manners of women subordination in the 19th Century including confining women to the kitchen and barring them from voting. Before writing this novel, Atwood collected newspaper clippings and reporting events from the feminist movement, religious right-wing groups and various cultural practices around the world so, this tangled debate could also be referring to the views contemporary Islamic women who argues that the veil and the all-enveloping clothing is aimed at dealing with sexual harassment and sexual objectification. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moira's reluctance to conform to rules of Gilead is crucial to her mental stability and her survival. Margaret Atwood contrast Moira's reluctance to subscribe to the ideologies of Gilead with Janine, who deeply believes and accepts the Gilead regime. Janine is both a victim of freedom and oppression. In the novel, we told that as a handmaid, she was left to wound her own emotional scares when her baby was declared 'unborn' and destroyed because it was deformed and also that before the Gilead regime she was gang-raped something she is made to believe by the Aunts that it is her fault "her fault, her fault, we chant in unison". There are great parallels between these events; in each case, she is a powerless individual, victimised as a women and her baby is destroyed. Janine's fragility reinforces Moira's inner strength. Janine's drift into madness in chapter 43 serves as Atwood's way of telling the readers that people can not be forced into believing in something imposed on them and that true converts of the Gilead regime are eventually into driven insane by the system's inhumane practices. Page 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. Discuss The Handmaids Tale as a significant dystopian novel. What affect can it have ...

    She also seems quite confused at times because she has memories of one society but lives in another. At times she is weak in spite of her desire to be different. Offred like all other Handmaid's has a commander. As a commander he is a founder of Gilead and also bears some responsibility for the totalitarian society.

  2. Explore the issues concerning women and feminism raised in The Handmaids Tale

    or act against the system of the society the only thing that a woman is worth is for the use of her reproductive system and their only job they have is the function they must perform. The body that women once used to express their sexuality, the body they used

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

    However Offred then goes on to say "I revise that: within limits" All sense of freedom is lost when Offred says this, as it shows that she never had any freedom. Offred's imprisonment is also shown through the types of nouns Atwood uses.

  2. Women in the Handmaid's Tale: Objectification and Value in Reproductive Qualities.

    Uniforms can not ultimately be changed: "some people call them habits, a good word for them. Habits are hard to break" (p. 31). Uniforms consist of a dress and a veil. The function of the veil is to conceal and hide women as well as to prevent women from seeing.

  1. Early in the novel Atwood presents us with the division between ladies and women

    In pages 83-92 we see the opinion of women through Dr Jordan's eyes he firstly describes them as "weak-spined and jelly like by nature" which could be seen as an overall view taken by men. Dr Jordan then scientifically proves this idea wrong when making reference to his dissection and finding that "their spines were on the average no feebler".

  2. The Handmaid tale essay

    Moreover, certain men in Gilead had the power to accuse women of acts that they didn't commit. The character of the Doctor is an example of this, who abused his power to victimizes a females and get sex. Upon seeing Offred's body, he try's to force Offred into having sex

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

    or outrage or inquisitiveness, such as you might see on a startled child' with blue eyes that shut you out and a once 'cute nose but was now to small for her face, she is insulting her mistress's looks; this shows that she still has some power, even if it is only in her own mind.

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