Gilead Literary Analysis

Decent Essays
One of the most important themes in this novel is power. The society of Gilead restructures the meaning of words to establish power. Gilead’s new vocabulary reinforces a totalitarian regime by using language to regulate the words and ideas that people can express, similar to linguistic determinism. In Eleanor Rosch’s (1974) article of Linguistic relativity, she identified both a strong and weak version of the linguistic relativity hypotheses, a degree in which language is presumed to influence our thought and behavior. The weak hypothesis is linguistic relativity, where linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions. (Rosch, 1974). However the Gilead’s use of language reflects that more of the strong hypothesis. In…show more content…
This demonstrates how Gilead’s enforcement of language causes both women to self-censor their speech, even when no one is watching. Rosch’s (1974) article of Linguistic relativity discuss how some individuals may feel trapped by their language into holding a particular worldview. In our third writing assignment it was required to observe an event that might be characterized as intercultural. Reading this novel feels most similar to the experience I had during the third writing assignment because as Offred is narrating her experience in Gilead, I am able to analyze the situation from an ethnographic perspective where a researcher would normally observe society from the point of view of the subject of the study. As a result, I discovered that differences among language contribute to how the world is constructed and in this case Gilead’s terminology limits what individuals can say and think in order for those with power to maintain control. Gilead’s use of language to influence thought has made clear the ways in which language can be used to expressed power. The reconstruction of language in Gilead emphasizes how language can restrict forms of communication between people to create control. Observing these restrictions on speech and oppressive language used in the novel assist us in identifying similar ways in which these techniques happen within our own societies. For instance, one can examine the ways in which language is used to describe individuals of
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