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"Examine various methods of social control implemented by Gileadean society"

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Introduction

"Examine various methods of social control implemented by Gileadean society" In Margaret Atwood's futuristic novel The Handmaid's Tale, the Gileadean society has implemented various methods of social control. These methods are no different from the methods used by many democratic governments today. Uniforms to reflect occupation, names and titles to indicate status and censorship to keep the intellectuals controlled are all used as forms of social control in both the Gileadean and our society. The handmaids play an important part in the Gileadean society. They have to wear long red dresses with hoods that cover their bodies. All handmaids dress the same way, just like nowadays certain jobs require a certain way of dressing; people have to dress in a specific way in order to get that job. ...read more.

Middle

Not being able to physically feel the presence of the Eyes but knowing that they are watching you is what differentiates the Eyes from ordinary guards. The Eyes serve as an example for another type of social control as well. The title "the Eyes" refers to an all-seeing eye, constantly watching people. Offred has learned to be afraid of the Eyes, just as she has learned to respect Commanders and Aunts. A person in the Gileadean society is treated according to his or her title. An Aunt takes care of Handmaids and is therefore located higher up in the social ladder. The Commanders and their wives are even higher, even though whether or not they deserve this position is arguable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore the citizens of Gilead are left with a version of the bible that is tailored to suit the needs of the ones in control. Only people in high positions such as commanders are allowed to study the bible in the form it was supposed to be studied in. The issue of censorship applies to many 19th and 20th century societies, such as nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930's all the way until Stalin's death. The various methods of social control implemented by the Gileadean society exist mainly as criticism; of course they also help to set the mood for the novel. The Handmaid's Tale contains many problematic issues that relate directly to the western society. Margaret Atwood presents the reader with ideas that at first might seem far-fetched but on a second thought prove to have a valid point. ...read more.

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