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GCSE: Ken Kesey
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Discuss the presentation of McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and Offred in "The Handmaid's Tale" in their response to an authoritarian and oppressive environment.
The Handmaid's Tale falls squarely within the twentieth century tradition of dystopian novels, unlike that of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Atwood attempts to imagine what kind of values might develop if environmental pollution rendered most of the human race sterile. It also the product of debates within the feminist movement in the 70s and 80s and offers a very strong feminist vision of dystopia. She wrote it shortly after the elections of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, the period of conservative revival partly fuelled by a strong, well organised movement of religious conservatives who criticized what they perceived as the extremes of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s and 1970s.
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