society can be seen as a malevolent force, bringing about the dehumanisation of the individual

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‘Society can be seen as a malevolent force, bringing about the dehumanisation of the individual’
To what extent is this idea shown in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘We’ by comparing the writers presentation of the pressures society brings to bear on the individual. “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

To understand what is meant by the term ‘dehumanisation’ one must first ascertain what it is that makes us human. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘dehumanisation’ as ‘the deprivation of positive human qualities’. This would imply that it is qualities
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Though Offred’s mind has been affected by the indoctrination, she still expresses her individualism throughout the novel. This is seen through small acts of rebellion like when she takes the butter to use as moisturizer and by manipulating language to retain what is left of her sense of humour. It 's an event, a small defiance of rule, so small as to be undetectable, but such moments are the rewards [she] hold[s] out for [her]self, like the candy [she] hoarded, as a child, at the back of a drawer. Offred relies on these ‘rewards’ because they symbolize an opportunity for individuality, whether it is sneaking a look at one of the guardians or touching herself during the night, she attempts to clutch at what arguably makes her human. Contrastingly, when given a substantial choice by the doctor, she remains indecisive and almost apathetic which leads to the diminishment of the readers sympathy. This would suggest that it isn’t the society that is responsible for the dehumanisation of the individual, it is the individual themselves.
The most substantial difference, however is the way in which both writers convey the importance of retaining individualism in society. Zamyatin uses the characters D-503 and I-330 in contrast to each other to display different schools of thought in the situation – surrendering ones individualism for a collective dream and rebelling because (as

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