Preview
Preview

Essay on The Handmaid's Tale as a Warning to Society

No Works Cited
Length: 934 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



The Handmaid's Tale as a Warning to Society

 

Margaret Atwood's renowned science fiction novel, The Handmaid's Tale, was written in 1986 during the rise of the opposition to the feminist movement. Atwood, a Native American, was a vigorous supporter of this movement. The battle that existed between both sides of the women's rights issue inspired her to write this work. Because it was not clear just what the end result of the feminist movement would be, the author begins at the outset to prod her reader to consider where the story will end. Her purpose in writing this serious satire is to warn women of what the female gender stands to lose if the feminist movement were to fail. Atwood envisions a society of extreme changes in governmental, social, and mental oppression to make her point.

 

Early on it is evident that the authority of this society has been changed from a theocracy to a totalitarian government. The first sentence reveals that the current living quarters of the main character, Offred, are located in "what had once been the gymnasium" (3). The narrator recounts the past fifty years in this place from felt skirts of the fifties to the green spiked hair of the nineties. Then she turns to describe its transformation into what resembles an army barrack but is actually functioning as a kind of prisoner of war camp. In these few short sentences, Atwood has described the conditions of a place called Gilead, which is located in what used to be called the United States. In chapter four the author reveals that the current government is waging a war against the church. This is evidence that this society has shifted away from recognizing God as its supreme authority. The narrator then mentions that church song...


... middle of paper ...


... the past, Offred continues to hope that her husband, Luke, is still alive. She reveals this as she observes the bodies hanging at the wall and comments that she feels relief because, "Luke wasn't a doctor. Isn't" (44). Not only does she defy the system be refusing to accept this society as the end of all things, but she also persists in hoping that she will someday awaken from this nightmare and things will be the way they used to be.

 

The ending of the novel is intentionally lacking direction because the author wants the reader to ponder its ending. Were it not for the fact that we, the readers, know that Offred lives to tell her story, we would be left like the people of Gilead, without hope. However, Margaret Atwood's point is that just as naturally as a caterpillar weaves its cocoon to grow wings and fly free, so to must the wings of women be.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on the Religious Right and The Handmaid's Tale - The Religious Right and The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States. A religious extremist right-wing movement assassinated the president and congress and took complete control of the government. The constitution was suspended and liberties revoked. Women found themselves completely subordinated in the new regime, generally assigned to the legal care of a male "guardian." Offred, the main character of the story, was fortunate in many ways....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 568 words
(1.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on A Society of Oppression in A Handmaid's Tale - A Society of Oppression in A Handmaid's Tale      As the saying goes, 'history repeats itself.' If one of the goals of Margaret Atwood was to prove this particular point, she certainly succeeded in her novel A Handmaid's Tale. In her Note to the Reader, she writes, " The thing to remember is that there is nothing new about the society depicted in The Handmaiden's Tale except the time and place. All of the things I have written about ...have been done before, more than once..." (316). Atwood seems to choose only the most threatening, frightening, and atrocious events in history to parallel her book by--specifically the enslavement of African Americans in the United States....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
758 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay - Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale The Historical Notes are important in the way we perceive the novel as they answer many important questions raised by the novel and also enhance some of the novels main themes. The first question it answers is the one raised at the end of the novel; that is whether Offred is stepping up into the,'darkness,' or the, 'light.' The reader finds out that Offred escaped Gilead, presumably into Canada, with the help of the,'Underground Femaleroad.' The reader also learns that it was Nick who orchestrated her escape, using his position as a member of the Eyes....   [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays] 978 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Rebellion in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay - Rebellion in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale "Rebels defy the rules of society, risking everything to retain their humanity. If the world Atwood depicts is chilling, if 'God is losing,' the only hope for optimism is a vision that includes the inevitability of human struggle against the prevailing order." -Joyce Johnson- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale analyzes human nature by presenting an internal conflict in Offred: acceptance of current social trends (victim mentality) -vs- resistance for the sake of individual welfare and liberties (humanity)....   [tags: Handmaids Tale] 2092 words
(6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Satire of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale - The Handmaid's Tale has been described as a scathing satire and a dire warning. Which elements of our own society is Margaret atwood satirising and how does her satire work . Atwood tries to open our eyes by satirising our society with a brilliant contrasting novel. Dystopian in every way, the reader encounters a world in which modern values of our society seem/ are replaceable. Showing the worst of all possible outcomes, she demonstrates that our primarily heartless, just economical thinking could bring the downfall of our society....   [tags: literary genre, Satirical] 505 words
(1.4 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about A Society's Self Destruction in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - A Society's Self Destruction in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale Many fictitious novels written today mirror real life; this tactic can provide readers with a sense of formality. Yet in some cases, fictitious novels provide readers with the shocking realization of a society's self destruction. I believe The Handmaid's Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, falls in the second category. Issues raised in this novel such as manipulation, public punishment, ignorance, and pollution are problems we face in the world today....   [tags: Papers] 1358 words
(3.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - James Fils-Aime The Handmaid’s Tale Fact or Fiction The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel in which Atwood creates a world which seems absurd and near impossible. Women being kept in slavery only to create babies, cult like religious control over the population, and the deportation of an entire race, these things all seem like fiction. However Atwood's novel is closer to fact than fiction; all the events which take place in the story have a base in the real world as well as a historical precedent....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 2 Works Cited
1401 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about A Tale of Oppression and Reaction: Handmaid´s Tale by Margaret Atwood - ... As a rare and coveted fertile woman, Offred is forced to become a Handmaid and be passed from Commander to Commander. Each handmaid is renamed “Of,” signifying ownership, followed by the name of her commander, rebranding her as property. Renaming handmaids takes away their individuality and erases their former life, reinventing them as new people with a refocused purpose. It likewise makes her dispensable because a new handmaid can easily replace her and adopt the name Offred. She is obligated to partake in the “Ceremony” each month during which the Commander reads a bible verse before having sex with her as his wife encircles them....   [tags: government, women, equality]
:: 3 Works Cited
1195 words
(3.4 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Societal Resistance and Control in "The Handmaid's Tale" Essay - The words control and Gilead, the setting for the novel "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood, are interchangeable. Not only is control a pivotal feature of the novel and its plot, it consequently creates the subplots, the characters and the whole world because of its enormity in the Republic of Gilead. Resistance also features heavily, as does its results, mainly represented in the salvagings, particicution and the threat of the colonies. Control dominates all aspects of Gileadian society, from minor, seemingly petty normalities such as the clothes allowed, all the way up to how and who to have sexual relations with....   [tags: American Literature] 1372 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay - Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood This novel is an account of the near future; a dystopia, where pollution and radiation has rendered countless women sterile, and the birth rates of North America are dangerously declining. A puritan theocracy now controls the former United States called the Republic of Gilead and Handmaids are recruited to repopulate the state. This novel contains Atwood’s strong sense of social awareness, as seen in the use of satire to comment on different social conditions in the novel....   [tags: Papers] 937 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]