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

Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of books , Volume 53, Number 17 November 2, 2006 Discuss this interpretation of The Handmaids Tale considering the structure and intention of the novel.

Extracts from this document...


The appendix makes of the novel an astute, provocative social commentary, where its absence would have made the novel an abiding work of art ending with Offred's hopeful voice ("And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light"). JOYCE CAROL OATES, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS , VOLUME 53, NUMBER 17 � NOVEMBER 2, 2006 Discuss this interpretation of "The Handmaid's Tale" considering the structure and intention of the novel. Word Count: 1498 "'The Handmaids Tale' by Margaret Atwood is a narrative that challenges the absolute authority of Gilead, highlighting the significance of storytelling as an act of resistance against oppression, thereby making a particular kind of individual political statement." (7) The narrative provides an insight of barbarical chauvinism in an injustice system of oppression towards women. It shows great understanding of conveying human experience and social justice through the art of literature. The story foretells of how women in the Republic of Gilead have been somewhat imprisoned and controlled by authority and power. There is no such space of freedom in this country for women. The first person narration communicates significant emotion towards the law and the lives lived by these beleaguered women. This emphasizes on the readers reaction and understanding the author's intention more vividly. ...read more.


380). He only cares about verifiable facts and says that he "hesitates to use the word document" to refer to Offred's story because it is difficult to authenticate (pg. 373). He belittles Offred for describing her personal story instead of imparting conclusive facts, and sarcastically states that "we must be grateful for any crumbs the Goddess of History has deigned to vouchsafe us"(pg. 386)." (2) "The Handmaid's Tale, was written in 1986 during the rise of the opposition to the feminist movement." (8) Atwood says "I'm an artist ... and in any monolithic regime I would be shot. They always do that to artists. Why? Because the artists are messy. They don't fit. They make squawking noises. They protest. They insist on some kind of standard of humanity which any such regime is going to violate. They will violate it saying that it's for the good of all, or the good of the many, or the better this or better that. And the artists will always protest and they'll always get shot. Or go into exile." "The writer ... retains three attributes that power-mad regimes cannot tolerate: a human imagination, in the many forms it may take, the power to communicate, and hope." ...read more.


many occurrences such as her feminist mother (chapter 7 and 39), Moira story as a rebel (chapter 38), and Serena Joy (chapter 3 and 8). The complexity of transitions that befalls between the past and present creates a profound and unique structuring of the novel. The shift to historical notes works "to convince us of the immediacy of Offred's narrative. It is very likely that we will reject the professor's dismissal of Offred as a figure belonging to the vanished past, and given his own sexist attitudes, we might assume that Offred's story about patriarchal attitudes does not belong exclusively to the past but threatens the future as well." (7) "In the "Historical Notes," Atwood illustrates the downfall of a purely objective perspective and the importance of subjectivity and feelings. Atwood argues that stories are important because they evoke an emotional response that gives us more insight into the complexity of events. We think we can distance ourselves from history because it is in the past, but by bringing events of the past into the future, Atwood shows the importance of recognizing what humans are capable of and judging past and present events from a human perspective. She also demonstrates how stories can be powerful and constructive modes of communicating human history. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Verisimilitude of the Narration in The Things They Carried.Tim OBrien artistic intention of telling ...

    At the same time war fascinates Tim O'Brien. The following contradictory statements clearly prove that Tim O'Brien thinks that war is something you cannot generalize and each war story is unique and gives you a true 'gut feeling' that cannot be explained, "War is nasty; War is fun...war is grotesque...but in truth war is also beauty"[pg 80].

  2. To What Extent Do The Writers From The Books 'The Last Night' and 'Refugee ...

    'Refugee' tells us that the Jews had a choice to leave whereas in 'The Last Night' they didn't have this choice and wish they did. 'Blue' is the colour thought of as gloomy and depressive which reflects in the text and gives the piece a gloomy mood.

  1. Dubliners is a series of short stories written by James Joyce. Joyce wrote these ...

    Unfortunately, the reader becomes aware that the main character will become paralyzed because toward the end of the story darkness appears again. Furthermore, inn "An Encounter" when the pervert is talking to the narrator he repeats many words like 'girl' and 'whips'.

  2. Lord of the Flies Critical Analysis

    He understands the priorities are to be rescued. However, everybody else takes hunting for a priority, and their fears of the island keep them loyal to Jack. Return Home: Returning home is a very important archetype in the novel because it represents the initial goal the boys shared in the first place.

  1. Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy Commentary

    The visual imagery in the last line of the second and first line of the third stanzas is very emotionally rattling. The phrase ?loosed his belt? refers to the woman being raped, and that is followed by a description of her peeing herself which is a very primitive reaction of fear.

  2. Social Distinction in the novel Pygmalion

    English language is spoken with many different styles and different accents forming many dialects within the language. Especially Standard English is spoken by posh people with good social back ground. Higgins shows this tendency that in the following speech: “Higgins: Men begin in Kentish Town with â¤80 a year end

  1. The poem They Eat Out by Margaret Atwood transforms the somewhat mundane experience of ...

    Atwood?s continual incorporation of enjambment serves to highlight particular words or phrases that are significant to the overall poem. For instance, when describing the power of making the man immortal, the lines are phrased very specifically: ?At the moment only I/can do it and so?.

  2. Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7,8,9 and 10

    This reflects the fact that Ralph does not believe in the beast, while the beast makes up a major part of Jack's idea of life on the island. * Jack increases his influence within the group by provoking Ralph to act rashly and unwisely against his tendency toward levelheadedness, a manipulation that weakens Ralph's position in the group.

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