How Does Margaret Atwood Establish and Develop a Dystopian Narrative in Her Novel ‘the Handmaid’s Tale’?

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Throughout Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded state is created through the use of multiple themes and narrative techniques. In a dystopia, we can usually find a society that has become all kinds of wrong, in direct contrast to a utopia, or a perfect society. Like many totalitarian states, the Republic of Gilead starts out as an envisioned utopia by a select few: a remade world where lower-class women are given the opportunity interact with upper-class couples in order to provide them with children, and the human race can feel confident about producing future generations with the potential to see past divisions of…show more content…
To the present day reader the idea of only being free in your memories is far too restricting – reinforcing the dystopian narrative. As Offred’s relationship with the commander develops we see and emergence of the idea that even in a powerless regime women can exploit their sexual power and we become familiar with the idea of ‘fallen women’. Offred is in her room and filled with nostalgia for the outmoded habit of falling in love; ‘Falling in love, I said. Falling into it’ which is then mirrored; ‘Falling in love, we said; I fell for him’. The underlying biblical reference to ‘The Fall’ when Adam ate the apple from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden is very prominent. We are forced to consider the idea of the fall from innocence, which is presented as a paradox in this dystopian world as the women are not, by the terms of the bible, innocent. However it is also a reflection of the Gilead society because biblically ‘The Fall’ was Eve’s betrayal of Adam and the women who have been deemed “fallen” were unable to become pregnant – the ultimate betrayal of this society. The whole idea of “falling” is hugely passive and gives the impression of a very powerless action. For women in present day society I believe it would be the ultimate torment to be catapulted back in societal thinking where woman were far less than equal as it has previously been. The repetition of biblical references strongly draws in
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