Use of Power: Blade Runner vs. The Handmaid's Tale

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Compare the ways in which the authors of two texts you studied this year explore the use of power.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Blade Runner: Director’s Cut by Ridley Scott both explore the use of power albeit in similar and dissimilar ways. Power in both texts is portrayed as humankind’s power over the natural world, power over those considered inferior in society, and power over women.

In Blade Runner, the human race is seen to have abused an outstanding amount of power over the natural world, as seen by the environmental decrepitude in the 2019 Los Angeles city. There is a large amount of photochemical smog from which the constant acidic rain falls, deteriorating the large buildings. Costuming such as umbrellas
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Handmaids also suffer similar inequality and powerlessness. This is largely evident as the Aunts in the Red Centre are explained to have “scriptural precedent” to hit the handmaids. Offred communicates the power over those considered substandard in society by explaining that “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse for someone.” Atwood and Scott both explore power over those considered inferior in order to enhance the already dystopic worlds, and to evoke a strong emotional response from their audience.

Power over women in both texts is a significant area explored by both Atwood and Scott. In Blade Runner, women are sexualised and objectified for the pleasures of men, which indicates male dominance. Zhora, who works as an exotic dancer “taking pleasures from the snake” is highly sexualised to the point of ridiculousness, for example, her see-through, impractical rain jacket – paired with knee high heeled boots. Camera techniques also illustrate her objectification as a sex toy. For example, the camera imposes on her privacy by following her into the shower, despite Deckard being the only one talking at the time. Additionally, the framing tends to focus on her body. Pris similarly is an example of men’s power over women in the Blade Runner world. Although she is

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