The Handmaid 's Tale, By Margaret Atwood Essay

The Handmaid 's Tale, By Margaret Atwood Essay

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Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” and both Bruce Dawes poems “Enter without So Much as Knocking” “Weapons Training” offers insights into the challenges presented in the modern world with respect to moral or spiritual values, identity and relationships despite the different context. Atwood’s novel contextualises the 1980’s Feminist Movement using the patriarchal Republic of Gilead to dehumanise women in a futuristic, dystopian society. Whereas Dawe’s poems address his opposition to the dehumanising process of wars and degradation of modern values via media propaganda and brainwashing through influential people to form a dominate society. Hence the comparative study of both texts broadened our understanding of the modern world (or understanding of the complexities of the modern world) and provide insights into the challenges presented.
Atwood’s novel uses the dominating regime of Gilead to control and oppress based on religious rights and family morals parallel to extreme religious groups and totalitarian societies. The violence and immorality during the neologism of “the salvaging” which are brutal hangings, ironically represents the word of God, but in reality, it is dictated by the powerful male elite, the Commander who uses the Bible to justify their actions. Furthermore, ‘the salvaging’ took place at Harvard university which is symbolic of knowledge, but is now the symbol of the rejection of knowledge. The visual imagery used when Offred communicates about how “Everything except the wings around my face is red”, has an association with sexuality, sin and her role of being a child bearer. In contrast, the male commanders wore black, a dominating colour symbolising control and hunger for power. “Nature demands variety...


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...ack of morality towards the dead so nobody cares. Similar to Atwood, Dawe’s poem depicts a society losing identity and genuine emotional connection caused by materialism forming a society with little moral principles. In contrast, Atwood uses irony to portray a shift from Japanese tourist becoming westernised with all their materialistic possessions in contrast to the conservative nature of Gilead’s yet the oppressed spiritual regime also developed a loss of identity and genuine emotional connection.
In the process of comparison, both Atwood and Dawe provided a social commentary regarding the challenges presented in the modern world in relation to the degradation of moral principles, engulfing individuality and loss of genuine connection with others. Both texts provided insights into the modern world dealing with conformity, materialism, and loss of personal values.

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