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University Degree: Margaret Atwood

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  1. Compare and contrast the ways these authors present the oppressive society of their dystopias and the effect these techniques have on the reader.

    Atwood similarly says that passivity can allow these worlds to become reality and that everything in her novel has either happened or was happening at the time that it was published in 1985. At the time the Taliban were gaining power and Afghan women were expected to stay at home and it was at this time that there was a resurgence in fundamental Christian activity. The narrative structure and voice of a novel affects the acceptance and experience of the reader.

    • Word count: 4194
  2. Postcolonialism and Canada: A Readingof Margaret Atwood's Surfacing and Alias Grace

    The texts in reference are Margaret Atwood's novels, Surfacing and Alias Grace. The novel Surfacing demonstrates the complex question of identity for an English-speaking Canadian female. Identity, for the main character, has become a problem because of her role as a victim of the colonizers. She has been colonized by men in the patriarchal society in which she grew up, by Americans and their cultural imperialism, or neo-colonialism as it has come to be known as, and the Euro-centric legacy that remains in her country although the physical presence of English and French rulers have gone.

    • Word count: 4637
  3. Alienation in 'Le Vice-Consul', 'Elise ou la vraie vie', 'Pluie et vent sur Télumée-Miracle' and 'The Handmaid's Tale.'

    The novel begins with a story written by Peter Morgan, an Englishman who frequents the colonial society. On this occasion he is fascinated with a mad beggar-woman who haunts Calcutta with her grotesque appearance and her incomprehensible song. Writing the story of the beggar-woman is for Duras a means of comprehending the horror of existence. Providing a symbol of alienation and loss, the beggar-woman reflects many of Duras' protagonists who become and are defined by their sense of alienation. The mendiante's march is described as a movement towards madness. "Depuis combien de temps est-elle sans m�moire? Quoi dire � la place de ce qu'elle n'aurait pas dit?

    • Word count: 4000
  4. 'The Handmaid's Tale' - Based on your reading of the text so far, what do you find interesting about the way Atwood presents the character of Offred?

    At this stage of the book the reader doesn't understand who the 'aunts' are. It is clear that they have some sort of authority over this group of girls, similar to the authority of a prison warden over prisoners. The narration doesn't bother to try and explain the things that the audience are being introduced to, instead, it seems that the voice addressing the reader is not telling a story but simply reminding themselves of a moment in their past. Offred is very conscious of the changes that have taken place since our time and she doesn't need to explain them to herself, just remember them.

    • Word count: 3999
  5. In many ways the ideas in this dystopian novel are more important than the characters - with the exception of Offred and Moira. The other characters tend to function as members of groups or as representatives of certain ideological positions.

    She knows what she needs to pay attention to: What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth ... Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be' (Chapter 24). Offred's greatest psychological resource is her faculty of double vision, for she is a survivor from the past, and it is her power to remember which enables her to survive in the present. It is not only through flashbacks that she reconstructs the past (though these are her most effective escape routes from isolation, loneliness and boredom), but even when she walks down the road she sees everything through a double exposure, with the past superimposed upon the present,

    • Word count: 5607

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • In close analysis of Nick’s character discuss whether he is Offreds saviour or her down fall.

    "In conclusion Nick saves her because he takes her away at the end. He also releases her from the pressure and tension of Gilead. He tries to make everything feel as normal as possible the way it used to be by having a relationship the sneaking around is like a stimulant but Offred should be used to it due to her affair with Luke. He also gets her pregnant which means that even if he didn't save her at the end it meant that she wouldn't have to go to the colonies. However, he does take huge risks, which would mean that he is endangering his and her life for cheap thrills such as winking and touching her foot."

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