Presentation and significance of settings in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Discuss the presentation and significance of the settings in 'The Handmaid's Tale'. How effectively does the setting of the narrative help to convey the dystopian world which Atwood has created? 'The Handmaid's Tale' is set in the near future in what was the United States but in Offred's time is known as Gilead. Gilead is in the hands of a power - hungry elite who have used their own brand of 'Bible - based' religion as an excuse for the suppression of the majority of the population. Atwood takes aspects of our society today such as the decline of the Caucasian birth rate in North America, infertility and sexually transmitted diseases and makes a society within Gilead that combats these issues. Atwood states 'there is nothing in the novel which has not been done already by somebody, somewhere.' 'The Handmaid's Tale' is Atwood's version of 'what if?' in the most powerful democracy in the world. Atwood takes a common setting which is the United States known to us as the most powerful democracy in the world and takes issues which affect the world today and uses these aspects of life to create a horrifying dystopian novel. Gilead is frightening because it presents a mirror image of what is happening in the world around us. The first sentence in Chapter one is "We slept in what had once been the gymnasium." When people have to sleep in a communal place after a natural disaster
Explain how control and rebellion are presented in 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood
Explain how control and rebellion are presented in 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood. Margaret Atwood's creation of the dystopian society of Gilead in 'The Handmaids Tale', is definitely one in which the Government attempts to control every aspect of people's public and private lives. As the plot progresses, Offred - the protagonist and narrator of the novel - dissects how, through numerous methods, this power is exerted on the society by a theocratic state, similar to that in George Orwell's classic, '1984'. Dystopias are societies where ideology has taken priority over the well-being of the people within that society, and as these dramatic changes implemented by Gilead are non-beneficial for the vast majority of the characters, many of them inevitably rebel - Moira could be interpreted as the most actively rebellious character. Atwood's formation of Gilead serves as a warning to what could take place in the near future if allowed and has been described as a 'mere extension of what is already taking place' by critic Coral Ann Howells. An illustration of this comes from the revolution that has been taking place since 2006 in Moscow, Russia. President Vladimir Putin has employed certain bribes such as a double on women's monthly child support and the offer of 250,000 rubles to those who choose to have more than one child, as a means of dealing with the crisis of
Compare the character and role of Janine and Moira in "The Handmaid's Tale"
Jasmin Hayward Compare the character and role of Janine and Moira. The characters Moira and Janine in the book "The Handmaids Tale" contrast in their perspectives on being a handmaid. Whereas Moira is perceived as the braver, more daring figure, attempting to escape from the Red Centre, and becoming successful in doing so, In her second attempt. Whereas Janine, or OfWarren as she is later known, has become brainwashed by the society, believing that the time she was raped was her own fault, and accepting her role in society. Both, more importantly have an impact on the main character "Offred." Moira, who escaped the Red Centre, is somewhat of an inspiration to Offred, whereas Janine's pathetic approach, makes her more aware of the impact of the society. However what should be noted is that unlike Offred, they both appear to ultimately give in to the society, Janine from the very beginning and Moira when she is working at Jezabel's, this emphasises Offred's unique strength of mind as a character. The bravery in Moira, and lack of it in Janine is evident within the book. Such an example is in Part 8 of the book "Birth Day." Offred recalls the second time that Moira attempted to escape from the Red Centre. We are aware of the amount of punishment that she had received for her first attempt: "she couldn't walk for a week," and yet she does so again. This shows just how brave
Comparison between Soul Scrolls (pg 175) and Offreds prayer (pg 205) in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Comparison between Soul Scrolls (pg 175) and Offred’s prayer (pg 205) Gilead’s totalitarianism regime uses religion to meet the ends of the regime, rather than the regime being a means to serve God. ‘Soul Scrolls’ is a place where Handmaid’s purchase one of five prayers to be read to them, before being recycled. Offred’s prayer is a distortion of the Lord’s Prayer which is ostensibly much more personal to her. Offred describes ‘Soul Scrolls’ as ‘a franchise’. This suggests the presence of business and technology in Gilead, reinforced by the idea that the Handmaid’s accounts are debited and that the regime is everywhere. This concept of business is continuous throughout the novel, for example the ‘ceremony’ previously discussed is portrayed to be a business transaction. ‘Franchise’ has connotations of something which is unavoidable. Everybody knows it and everybody has access to it, and it’s the same everywhere you go – it’s incredibly impersonal. Gilead uses ‘Soul Scrolls’ as a means of controlling the Handmaids. There is no flexibility because there is no choice in prayer – there are only five prayers to choose from, which seems quite artificial. In only offering five exact choices – ‘health, wealth, a death, a birth, a sin’, it prevents people praying for anything else. Despite the fact that the Handmaid’s can mentally
Handmaids Tale. Explore Atwoods presentation of Imagery. How does it affect your interpretation of the novel?
Explore Atwood's presentation of Imagery. How does it affect your interpretation of the novel? The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel, a work of speculative fiction, written by Margaret Atwood and first published in 1985. Set in the near future, in a totalitarian theocracy, which has overthrown the United States government (American fundamentalist republic of Gilead), The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of resistance, oppression and the fight for survival, in such a suppressed society. The novel is written as a dramatic monologue -fictive autobiography. The novel focuses on the life of Offred who is suppressed by society and forced to believe she is a breading machine 'I am a two legged whom'. Gilead's social principles are based on the Old Testaments, where patriarchal authority is justified as the laws of God. However it distorts teachings in the interest of political position. It may be seen as an abuse of the Bible rather than an adoption of its teachings. The biblical references are none more se present than the names given to people within the hierarchical Gilead system. A Handmaid in the Old Testament sense is someone whose body is the service of the patriarchs. There is a marked difference between the language Atwood uses to record Offreds muted everyday life, and the language of her real life of feeling and memory, which is expressed through a richly worded
What is the Significance of the Scrabble Game to the Development of the Novel The Handmaids Tale?
What is the Significance of the Scrabble Game to the Development of the Novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”? The Handmaid’s Tale, on the surface, is a feminist text. However, it employs other themes and literary devices in driving forward the themes of patriarchy and gender suppression. One of such themes is the power of language. As seen in the novel, language can be used both as an instrument of suppression and as a tool for liberation. The scrabble game in Chapter 23 and the events surrounding it, when viewed in the context of the authoritarian state of Gilead foreshadow a notable shift in the development of the plot. In the following paragraphs I will attempt to explore the inherent symbolism it carries, I will also explore the words Offred spells out during the game and conclude by highlighting the significance of those events to the plot of the novel. Atwood’s use of scrabble as imagery in “The Handmaid’s Tale” is by no means isolated. Her poem “Spelling” begins with a similar sort of symbolism. “My daughter plays on the floor with plastic letters” she writes, going further to state that “A word after a word after a word is power”. This bears a close semblance to Offred’s narrative in Chapter 23, “I hold the glossy counters with their smooth edges, finger the letters. The feeling is voluptuous. This is freedom, an eyeblink of it”. This shows
How does Atwood use the character Moira to present or explore themes of control and resistance?
How does Atwood use the character Moira to present or explore themes of control and resistance? Moira is presented as a character that gives in to resistance and control throughout her time in Gilead but, throughout the novel it becomes obvious that Moira will never get a lot of freedom and will always be controlled by men. Moira is presented as a character who gives in to resistance and control from the beginning and in chapter 1 the group of girls “stretch our arms out when the aunts aren’t looking” to show that she has no control over her actions with the status she has and that she lives for her own identity, and to be noticed as the rebellious character she is. Atwood presents her to the reader this way to show the lack of control Moira has over herself and that Moira is naturally brave by going against Gilead’s rules that we see more of later on in the novel. Atwood then comes to present Moira in a more vulnerable position after her first and failed attempt to escape Gilead. The aunts are the ones controlling her at this point by physically hurting her so she could no longer have the ability to escape because “her feet would not fit into her shoes, they were too big” and this shows Moira being controlled and dragged around very roughly. Atwood has done this to inform that reader that if a woman gives in to resistance or tries to give themselves a little
In "The Handsmaids Tale" explore how Atwood creates a sense of isolation and threat in the opening chapters
Katie ‘Close reference to the text; explore how Atwood creates a sense of isolation and threat in the opening chapters’ The anti-utopian fable, about the future is one woman’s story of her life as a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. A tale written by Margaret Atwood, she has created isolation and threat at any given opportunity. Written in narrative, we follow the daily life of the Handmaid, Offred. Atwood has written the fable in the form of fictive auto biography, also she has used ecriture feminine. Atwood has created such a diverse way of life to which today’s society is in, in some cases it is apparent that Atwood has managed to foresee certain aspects that have taken the world for example, you could link to Syrian civil War to parts of this narrative novel because they are both in dictatorships. One of our first experiences with isolation and threat comes from the first characters that we are introduced to, they are the Aunts; Sara and Elizabeth, it is ironic that they are called the ‘Aunts’ because they are two women gaolers, they guard the red centre with their ‘cattle prodders’, which is an unnecessary use or force that they have, which for those that are under their supervision (the Handmaids) it would create an atmosphere of suspense and uncertainty for the Handmaids because the Aunts have the ‘cattle prodders’ they could use them against
How Does Atwood present women in the Handmaid's Tale?
How does Atwood present women in the handmaid's tale? Atwood presents women as intelligent, submissive, rebellious, ignorant and powerful. The narrator of the story, Offred is desperate to escape her life however she is fearful of the consequences of any rebellion, and ultimately submits to her fate. Offred is an intelligent, educated woman, and Atwood's lexical choice demonstrates Offred's understanding of words: "Larynx. I spell. Valance. Quince. Zygote." Her intelligence is highly frustrating, as her stream of conscious thoughts is suppressed and internalised. If she was stupid and ignorant, she would find it easier to come to terms with her situation, however her crystal clear memories and vivid imagination provide an alternative reality that is painful to conceive: "I would like to believe this is a story I'm telling." Atwood writes about a past world that all readers can relate to, a world that Offred took for granted: "I had a paper due next day. What was it? Psychology, English, Economics. We studied things like that then. On the floor of the room there were books, open face down, this way and that, extravagantly." Atwood presents Offred's intelligence and her appreciation of words and language as a way of expressing herself and remaining true to her past. Atwood's presentation of a future where women's only function is as vessel for childbirth has a deeper poignancy
Feminism in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
"The women will live in harmony together, all in one family ... women united for a common end" (p.171). Consider how Atwood portrays the role of women and attitudes towards women in both contemporary society and in Gilead. Does she present a feminist perspective or is she challenging feminist attitudes? Margaret Atwood is the best known feminist novelist in English today. Her attitudes are clear in 'The Handmaid's Tale'. The book provides a brief history and critique of the North American feminist movement since the 1960s, for as Offred reminds us, "Context is all." The feminist movement took place at an appropriate time as women's rights needed to move forward. In Gilead that type of feminist movement is no longer appropriate as society is different and the situation is therefore a different context. Atwood uses the feminist attitudes in a society and takes them to an extreme illustrating the complexity of feminism. Second - wave feminism began in the 1960s and focused on discrimination and cultural, social, and political issues. Books about it included 'The Feminine Mystique' by Betty Friedan and 'The Second Sex' by Simone de Beauvoir. Many ideologies were also around in this time period. Atwood however, refuses to simplify the gender debate or to accept the slogans. Instead, she challenges these slogans by demonstrating how they run the risk of being taken over as