As society began to change in 1986 the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood was published. Narrated by Offred an oppressed handmaid “The Handmaid’s Tale” presents the life of a neglected women in the unordinary Gilead society. A handmaid is a women that is owned by a commander. All women have assigned roles in the Gilead society. The handmaid’s duty is to have sex with the commander in order to produce a baby because the commander’s wife is not fertile. Handmaids have to wear red. In Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Offred uses degrading and descriptive language to establish her identity, create meaning for herself and to defy Gilead's authority.
In a world where women are used merely as instruments of reproduction, ‘freedom of expression’ is punishable by death, and politics are claimed to be founded on religious beliefs, there doesn’t appear to be much similarity between the Handmaid’s Tale milieu of Gilead and our predominantly feminist and secular society. Despite this, the novel focuses on themes that have caused great controversy and debate. As a result, these concepts have become familiar to us and help connect with the story and characters despite the tremendous difference in context. The Handmaid’s Tale portrays and develops the themes of feminism/gender roles, political and religious views, oppression and sexuality to the extent that the reader in a modern-day setting is
The Handmaid´s Tale book by the Canadian Margaret Atwood is a dystopian novel, science fiction first published in 1985. It won so many prizes such as the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Nebula Award, among others, that this novel was adapted to the big screen. The movie adaptation, named the same as the book, was directed by Volker Schlondorff and made in 1990. As every book with its corresponding movie adaptation they have differences and similarities, in the Handmaid´s Tale we can observe those in the arrangement of the scenes and changes in the scenes itself. We will now analyze those changes. There
One of the many sad aspects of The Handmaid’s Tale is that the women who are subjected to abuse and discrimination soon comply with the roles that have been assigned to them, permitting abuse and exploitation against and amongst themselves. Atwood is not particularly hopeful about women as a means of changing the conditions in which they are living in this society. Even Offred’s eventual escape from the perverted system is more of a luck luck thing than determined will. Paying particular attention to the ending of the novel, this essay will argue that the author wants to call the reader’s attention to the problems that women suffer, but that she offers no solution or hope for change. I will be addressing three different literary devices in this essay; Repetition, Characterization, and Foreshadowing. I hope you enjoy.
At first, The Handmaid’s Tale (1986) may purely seem like a reconstruction of events. However, when examined more closely the reader can see that Atwood has used many narrative and poetic techniques. Each of these devices develop the novel into so much more than just a simple reconstruction of events, it becomes a precise and planned piece of work; a documented life experience that slowly unfolds. The reader becomes involved in the story and in Offred’s life; they go through her pain, suffering and occasional joy and trusts what she is telling them to be the truth. Yet, when the novel
The Handmaid’s Tale explores how individuals and society will interpret sources based on their own agendas and beliefs leading to a manipulation of the source for their own advantage. Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1984 where conservatism was on a rise and women were in danger of losing the rights they had been granted just a decade before. Thus in the novel she
Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaids Tale, is a story of a dystopian society set in the land of Gilead. The premise of The Handmaids Tale is the creation a masculine dominated civilization in which not only are the rights of women oppressed, but the basic rights of humanity. Everything, even and up to sex, has been desensitized, which destroys the concept of family, as men have sex with and impregnate handmaids, not their wives, as a means of conception and reproduction. While the officials of the Republic of Gilead attempt to suppress all evidence of the past, it is impossible to do so. The novels main character, and narrative voice, is a handmaid named Offred. Early on in the novel, she describes her home in this future, tyrannical society. The glimpse she provides, through symbolism, demonstrates to the reader the main themes of the novel, and allows the reader to identify the failures of Gilead in upholding its principles. A closer look at chapter two of The Handmaids Tale foreshadows many of the thematic elements established throughout the novel. The idea of family, represented by the Late Victorian house, the necessity of both the wives and the handmaids, represented by the color of the flowers, and the notion of time, represented by the grandfather clock are the books integral themes.
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, set in a futuristic state, women are portrayed as voiceless belongings viewed only as childbearing vessels. Atwood characterizes women as both physically and psychologically oppressed by the totalitarian male leaders through Handmaid characters such as Offred, Ofwarren, and Ofglen. The novel clearly displays the dehumanizing effects of the ideology, the biological reductionism, and manipulation of language through the testimony of the eyewitness’ recollections. The portrayal of women in this novel is conveyed through Offred’s characterizations and descriptions of women in this society.
Margaret Atwood's tale of a concubine engulfs the reader in a chilling effect on what could be our future America. The Handmaid’s Tale reveals the story of June, but her name has been altered to Offred. The patronymic was enforced by the new regime in a burdensome parallel of an impeding America. The Handmaid's roles include providing children for the infertile women of the upper class. The female population is divided into classes established by household functions. The Eye is a secret police group that maintains the law and roots up traitors. Offred, believes anyone could be an Eye. Power and freedom have been stripped away from women. June lives in a world where many items are forbidden including, scrabble, books, magazines, and makeup.
From the outset of 'The Handmaids Tale' the reader is placed in an unknown world, where the rights and freedom of women have been taken away. We follow the narrative journey of a handmaid, named Offred.
Atwood has constructed the novel as a first person narrative in which Offred offers her point of view as a Handmaid living in The Republic of Gilead. “The guards weren't allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren't allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire” (Atwood 16). The reader is not able to interpret what is happening outside of the enclosed area that the Handmaids are living in. This creates ambiguity because Offred cannot inform the reader because of her circumstances which generates ambiguity. Further, this relationship communicates the theme of freedom because the Handmaids do not have any freedom to explore outside of the enclosed premises and they are not allowed to talk to anyone outside including the angels. Due to the ambiguity generated through the imprisonment of women the reader is left to wonder what is happening in other parts of the
For this essay, we focused strictly on critics' reactions to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. For the most part, we found two separate opinions about The Handmaid's Tale, concerning feminism. One opinion is that it is a feminist novel, and the opposing opinion that it is not. Feminism: A doctrine advocating social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men as recorded in Webster's Dictionary. This topic is prevalent in the novel The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood, a Canadian writer, spends most of her time featuring women in her books, novels, and poetry that examine their relationships in society. In the book Atwood centers her novel on a girl whom
In Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood writes about a dystopia society. Atwood used situations that were happening during the time she began writing her novel, for example, women’s rights, politics, and in religious aspects. Atwood’s novel is relevant to contemporary society. There are similarities between Atwood’s novel and our society today, which lends to the possibility that our modern society might be headed to a less intense version of this dystopia society.
Gilead is a society not far from the present and it based around one central idea, control of reproduction by using women’s bodies as political instruments. Handmaids are women who the state took complete control of through their political subjugation. They are not allowed to vote, hold property, read or do anything that can make them independent from their husband and the state. These handmaids are reduced to their fertility and treated like nothing more than a set of ovaries and a womb. They lose their identity and become an object of the state. The narrator of The Handmaids Tale is a handmaid by the name of Offred. The novel takes place in first person point of view and this allows the readers to see how she is treated and all the events that take place for her. First person point of view allows the reader a closer view as to how a central theme develops by giving the reader a firsthand experience from the mind of the narrator.