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How does the Handmaids Tale address the issues of social examination?

Categories Examination

Essay, Pages 4 (820 words)



Essay, Pages 4 (820 words)

The Handmaids Tale is a social examination told by one women trapped in a theocratic community. Offred dissects the Gileadien society through language and structure, which is parallel to her expression of self-identification and the wholes in her society with reference to past cultures.

Gilead is a collection of past communities fused together to create a repressive dystopia analysed by Offred and is almost a warning to future societies. Aspects of Nazi Germany and Iran feature in the way Gileadien regime runs, the mistakes that have been made throughout history have not been rectified and have re-occurred, Gilead is a result of previous regimes and autocratic leadership taken to the extreme.

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The antics of totalitarian leader Stalin have been duplicated through the rise of Sadham Hussein, something that governments and communities would have never expected to have seen again but it was allowed to happen, this is just one example of political errors that is comparable with the regime in Gilead which Offred is scrutinizing.

The Handmaids Tale is on a par with George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “A brave new world” it follows in there dystopian themes and character similarities are evident, however, The Handmaids Tale is a feminist book and the repression focused on its primarily received by women.

Offred’s memory of her precedent society is mentioned in the beginning of the books when she describes her feelings of the gym and how it used to be and how they were encouraged to be now eradicated by the dictatorial government.

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Flash backs of her mother, Moira and Luke are all set in her past life, which is made to seem so detached, and contrast with her role then and now this fuels her questioning but also provides her with something to compare her current civilization with.

Three time eras are referred to in the book, past, present and future. Offred’s memories and flashbacks, such as the memories of her previous life with Luke and her child, coupled with references to previous events in history represent the past. The accounts of her life in Gilead as the story unravels are the present, Offred wonders what will happen to her, her daughter and other characters, she also questions the future of society as she knows it and future nations, these thoughts and references cover the third and final time phase – the future.

The time periods are chronologically located in the book, it opens with imagery from Offred’s past; the gymnasium, colours, smells and feelings. The book is primarily focused on current events on Gilead although references to past and future are apparent, and the book closes with the historical notes, which are set in the future.

In each of these times Offred analyses the cultures and systems she and here people are living/have lived by e.g. her mother’s protesting against chauvinistic books and Moira’s un-conformist attitude towards rules and society.

“Moira sitting on the edge of my bed, legs crossed, ankle on one knee, in her purple overalls, one dangly earring, the gold fingernail she wore to be eccentric, a cigarette between her stubby yellow ended fingers.”

Offred examines people’s roles in her community, women’s roles especially, the satirical qualities of names in the book are applicable; The commander is in fact not in command of anything in revealed to be quite a feeble character. Serena Joy is anything but serene or joyful, her cold and bitter personality ironically contrasts to her name.

The Aunts, it is detailed in the historical notes, are all associated with manufactured products this seems to promote a material synthetic feature to their characters linking them to advertising and this possibility that they are there to present a charade to the handmaids, tell them what they think they should know and nothing else such as advertising influences the world. These ironic double meanings represent the pretence that the Gileadien officials are trying to execute.

The Gileadien government wants to obliterate any memories of references to the past and desires for freedom, by removing books, words and other expressive forms helps to do this but the memories of a past life can never be completely destroyed. Offred is like a palimpsest, the government and its upholders are trying to scrape away her past and re-write her future but the layers of writing will always be a part of Offred and they cant take her recollections away, this gives her a small amount of power within her society.

Her memories will always be there and rebellion will always live in certain members of society, the brothel in which Moira worked was a form of revolt as was the very account of Offred’s tales. These rays of hope shine through the totalitarian, dystopian culture of Gilead, The Handmaids Tale raises questions in our own society and to a certain extent causes readers to analyse their society and the way we live as a controlled entity today.

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How does the Handmaids Tale address the issues of social examination?. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/handmaids-tale-address-issues-social-examination-new-essay

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