Cultural criticism is a broad technique that puts emphasis on the culture that contributed to the production of a work. This approach is an eclectic, interdisciplinary study that utilizes a wide range of topics to analyze literature. Cultural criticism considers a variety of perspectives and branches of knowledge to discover the compilation of beliefs and customs that characterize a group of people. For a cultural reading of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a cultural critic would consider the historical background paired with theories such as Marxism and feminism to make assumptions about what culture engendered the creation of this novel. (104 words)
In a society where women are completely oppressed they have two choices: To conform and survive, or to rebel and risk execution. Conformity would entail suppressing their morals and their personal rights to adapt to Gilead’s social standards. Would one choose self-inflicted isolation by disassociating oneself as a human being to survive, or gain more rights and disregard all morals by working for the government? This society is represented in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale. The novel is set in the Republic of Gilead, a dictatorship, formerly known as the United States of America. The government controls all aspects of the lives’ of its citizens, with its harshest regulations directly affecting women.
In the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, life in the newly formed dystopian society of Gilead is partial to the rights of women. Once the college town of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gilead has produced laws that prohibit women from writing, reading, conversing in a casual manner, having jobs, purchasing items, and even forming intimate and meaningful relationships. They are brought down to just a means of reproduction. Those who reproduce are called Handmaids and one such Handmaid is Offred. Her way of adapting to such a drastic change of lifestyle is to separate her mind from her body, to dissociate herself from what’s happening around her and to her. Pollock, the author of The Brain in Defense Mode, cites a definition of dissociation
Feminism in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood explores the role that women play in society and the consequences of a countryís value system. She reveals that values held in the United States are a threat to the livelihood and status of women. As one critic writes, “the author has concluded that present social trends are dangerous to individual welfare” (Prescott 151).
In “The Handmaid 's Tale” by Margaret Atwood, there is the addressing of freedom, abuse of power, feminism, rebellion and sexuality. The audience is transported to a disparate time where things normalized in our current society are almost indistinguishable. Atwood uses each character carefully to display the set of theme of rebellion within the writing, really giving the reader a taste of what the environment is like by explaining detailed interactions, and consequences as well as their role in society.
Over the past 200 years sexual liberation and freedom have become topics of discussions prevalent within western culture and society. With the recent exploration of sexuality a new concept of sexual and gender identity has emerged and is being analyzed in various fields of study. The ideology behind what defines
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
Psychological criticism has roots as far back as the fourth century BC, when Aristotle “commented on the effects of tragedy on an audience, saying hat by evoking pity and fear, tragedy creates a cathartic of those emotions” (Dobie 54). More recently, however, psychological criticism has been
It is necessary for the government to impose a certain amount of power and control of its citizens in order for a society to function properly. However, too much power and control in a society eliminates the freedom of the residents, forbidding them to live an ordinary life. In the dystopian futuristic novel, The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood demonstrates the theme of power and control through an oppressive society called the Republic of Gilead. The government established power and control through the use of the wall, military control, the salvaging, the particicution, and gender.
Erica Clark Professor Kachman WR 121 20 February 2013 Adverse Effects of Oppressive Dystopias A genuine identity and individuality is not possible in an oppressive environment especially when one’s daily life, actions, and thoughts are dictated by domineering societal expectations. Oppressive environments such as regimes controlled by a dictatorship and that run off
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: Novel and Film The Handmaid's Tale, a science-fiction novel written by Margaret Atwood, focuses on women's rights and what could happen to them in the future. This novel was later made into a movie in 1990. As with most cases of books made into movies, there are some similarities and differences between the novel and the film. Overall the film tends to stay on the same track as the book with a few minor details changed, and only two major differences.
Unorthodox Characters “I feel thankful to her. She has died that I may live. I will mourn later” (Atwood 286). Many sacrifices and hard decisions are made by unorthodox people to keep what they believe in alive. There would be no rebellions and no change without these nonconforming people. Offred,
A woman’s power and privileges depend on which societal class she is in. In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale each group of women are each represented in a different way. The three classes of women from the novel are the Handmaids, the Marthas and the Wives. The ways in which the women are portrayed reflect their societal power and their privileges that they bestow.
Feminist Ideas in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale 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
“There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from,” (Atwood 24). The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, is a novel set in the near future where societal roles have severely changed. The most notable change is that concerning women. Whereas, in the past, women have been gaining rights and earning more “freedom to’s”, the women in the society of The Handmaid’s Tale have “freedom froms”. They have the freedom from being abused and having sexist phrases yelled at them by strangers. While this may seem like a safer society, all of the “safeness” comes at a drastic cost. Atwood depicts a dystopia in The Handmaid’s Tale