Society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay

Society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay

Length: 2516 words (7.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

“Atwood’s feminism is an integral part of her critical approach, just
as her concept of criticism is inseparable from her creative work”
Walter Pache (1).

A dystopia is a fictional society, usually existing in a future time
period, in which the condition of life is extremely difficult due to
deprivation, oppression or terror. In most dystopian fiction, a
corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often
conditioning the masses to believe the society is proper and just,
even perfect. Most dystopian fiction takes place in the future but
purposely incorporates contemporary social trends taken to horrendous
extremes.

The novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, by Margaret Atwood focuses on the
choices made by those controlling the society of Gilead in which
increasing the population and preservation of mankind is the main
objective, instead of freedom or happiness. The society has undergone
many physical changes that have extreme psychological consequences. I
believe Atwood sees Gilead as the result of attitudes and events in
the early 1980s, which have spiralled out of control. ‘The Handmaid’s
Tale’ reflects Atwood’s views and critiques on civilisation. In an
interview with Gabriele Metzler Atwood says, “There is nothing in the
book that hasn’t already happened. All things described in the book
people have already done to each other”(2).

Throughout ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Offred is constantly conscious of her
life before Gilead. This is reflected in the sections of the book
headed “Night”. Offred often refers back to her life with her daughter
and Luke, “Luke was in the living room. He put his arms around me. We
were both feeling miserable. How were we to know we were happy, even
then? Becaus...


... middle of paper ...


...e extreme, she managed to visualise a
dystopian world, which suppressed people’s freedom of choice. “Atwood
is known as an outspoken defender of humanitarian values, an able and
active advocate for woman’s rights and for freedom of speech” Nathalie
Cooke (6). Therefore I do believe that Atwood’s novel ‘The Handmaid’s
Tale’ offers a very strong critique of American society in the 1980s.

Bibliography


(1) Walter Pache: “A Certain Frivolity”: Margaret Atwood’s Literary
Criticism

(2) Gabriele Metzler: “Creativity”: An Interview with Margaret Atwood

(3) Bernard Richards: Margaret Atwood

(4) Gabriele Metzler: “Creativity”: An Interview with Margaret Atwood

(5) Lorna Irvine: “Recycling Culture: Kitsch, Camp and Trash”:
Margaret Atwood’s Fiction

(6) Nathalie Cooke: “Lions, Tigers and Pussycats”: Margaret Atwood
(Auto) Biographically

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The United States as a Dystopian society in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale

- In the Days of Anarchy To live in a country such as the United States of America is considered a privilege. The liberties that American citizens are entitled to, as declared in the Constitution, makes the United States an attractive and envied democracy. It would be improbable to imagine these liberties being stripped from American society. However, Margaret Atwood depicts the United States as a dystopian society in her novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The first society is modern America, with its autonomy and liberal customs....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale]

Free Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Dystopia Society in the Handmaid´s Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay

- ... Another similarity between Atwood’s novel and our society today is the repressive rules for the women. In Pakistan women have little to no rights. The policies that the Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale is similar to the rules Pakistan have for their women. In the Gilead society the handmaids have to cover up their bodies, wear long dresses, and cover their faces with vial’s and wings. These rules for the women are the same if not similar in Afghanistan, India, and some south Asian countries. In Pakistan women can be raped and if no evidence is found to prove it was rape the men could get away with it and the women could be charged with pre-marital sex and sentence to prison....   [tags: rights, religious, politics]

Research Papers
1016 words (2.9 pages)

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]

Research Papers
1358 words (3.9 pages)

The Oppression of Individual Differences Essay

- In a world full of structure, the slightest wrong move could very well be one’s last. The opportunities are endless, but the risks are dangerously high. Kathleen Cameron stated, “Imagine a society where women are tortured and killed for disobeying this law- a society where religious beliefs, the political structure, and female sexual identity are so intertwined as to justify and require the control of women’s freedom, the sexual victimization of women, and the torture and murder of women who do not comply” (298)....   [tags: The Handmaid´s Tale, Margret Atwood, society]

Research Papers
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Representation of Colors in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Representation of Colors in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Imagine if you can, living in a world that tells you what you are to wear, where to live, as well as your position and value to society. In Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, she shows us the Republic of Gilead does just that. Offred, the main character, is a Handmaid, whose usefulness is her ovaries. Handmaids are ordered to live in a house with a Commander, his wife, and once a month attempt to become pregnant by the Commander....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Atwood Margaret Essays]

Research Papers
1784 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

- I Tell, Therefore I Am In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unthinkable oppression. Practically every aspect of their life is controlled, and they are taught to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for their commander. These “handmaids” are not allowed to read, write or speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society. They are conditioned to believe that they are safer in this new society. Women are supposedly no longer exploited or disrespected (pornography, rape, etc.) as they once were....   [tags: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale]

Free Essays
878 words (2.5 pages)

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay example

- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale In "The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood tells a saddening story about a not-to-distant future where toxic chemicals and abuses of the human body have resulted in many men and women alike becoming sterile. The main character, Offred, gives a first person encounter about her subservient life as a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a republic formed after a bloody coup against the United States government. She and her fellow handmaids are fertile women that the leaders of Gilead, the Commanders, enslave to ensure their power and the population of the Republic....   [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1236 words (3.5 pages)

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]

Research Papers
978 words (2.8 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Research Papers
934 words (2.7 pages)

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Love of God replaces love of humanity in Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. Offred’s recollections of her past life, especially of her husband, are ones filled with passion and happiness as she remembers his tenderness towards her. Much more emphasis is put on the physical human form in her memories; she often remembers lying with her husband while she wears little or no clothing. Appreciation of the human form is an essential component of loving humanity....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid Tale Essays]

Research Papers
1418 words (4.1 pages)