Aspects of control in The Handmaid's Tale and The Chrysalids Essay

Aspects of control in The Handmaid's Tale and The Chrysalids Essay

Length: 2464 words (7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Aspects of control in The Handmaid's Tale and The Chrysalids

Margaret Atwood and John Wyndham both write of distopian societies
within the science-fiction genre to explore the varying ways in which
society can abuse authority in order to gain control. This violent and
dehumanising repression is used to create vulnerability and fear among
the society as a method of control. The writers use the narrators
Offred and David to explore the response to oppression and both its
physical and psychological effects.

Atwood sets "The Handmaids Tale" in the future with the significant
setting of Cambridge, Massachusetts. This Puritan stronghold in the US
colonial period had created a theocracy, much like Gilead itself.
Wyndham also sets his novel in the future; the society of Waknuk is
evocative of the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Adam-Troy
Castro says "The Chrysalids" is a novel which "drives Harry Potter, it
drives the X-Men, and it has driven a number of other stories about
children who find out they are the next stage in Mankind's evolution".
However, I do not think "The Chrysalids" only concerns the future and
evolution, Wyndham uses this idea to explore the abuse of religion and
control and also the narrow-mindedness of those who judge by
appearance, a tendency that is still present today.

Puritanism and the recurring symbol of the past play a significant
role in both novels. Although both novels are set in the future, they
both possess societies based on past examples of oppression. D. Lundie
comments that Waknuk is "a society of the future with a setting from
the past". Extending Lundie's point, it is evident in the ...

... middle of paper ...

of the Taliban, although I feel Atwood has captured the control which
the USA presently holds over the world. Similarly, "The Chrysalids"
may pose a similar warning, but I feel it is rather a reflection on
the recognition of the bigotry and narrow-mindedness of the world
which will perhaps never change.

In conclusion, it is obvious that both Atwood in "The Handmaids Tale"
and Wyndham in "The Chrysalids" employ a variety of methods in order
to reinforce the level of control inflicted in each society. The
regimes use violent and cruel methods, positioning people at a lower
level by dehumanisation in order to take complete control. Atwood and
Wyndham express the nature of power-hungry elites in the extent of
their use of shocking and disturbing methods to control their

Word count: 2, 994

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- In Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear a transcribed account of one womans posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste. Fear is power. Fear is ever-present in Gilead; it is implemented through violence and force....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Powerful Essays
904 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale

- The Importance of the Narrator of The Handmaid's Tale The creation of Offred, the passive narrator of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, was intentional. The personality of the narrator in this novel is almost as important as the task bestowed upon her. Atwood chooses an average women, appreciative of past times, who lacks imagination and fervor, to contrast the typical feminist, represented in this novel by her mother and her best friend, Moira. Atwood is writing for a specific audience, though through careful examination, it can be determined that the intended audience is actually the mass population....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Powerful Essays
998 words (2.9 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 examples

- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Chapter nine opening section two of the novel is mainly recalling the last chapters and about the narrator rediscovering herself, surfacing the truth. In section one we see the narrator talking in the present tense in a very descriptive form, outlining the novel. However in section two we see her talking in the past tense demonstrating the stories she is telling. The separation between the human and the natural world and the narrator’s struggle with language most directly portrays the novel's dualities....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Powerful Essays
1712 words (4.9 pages)

Offred's Narrative Technique in The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Offred affects every single aspect of "The Handmaid's Tale", so, in order to understand her narrative technique better, her character must also be considered.             Offred is nostalgic, she longs for her pre-Gilead past with which she still identifies very strongly. She is, however, realistic in her longing; she knows that the past was not perfect, that it was no utopia, but she just longs for a situation preferable to her present one, "...We lived, as usual, by ignoring...". Another strong reason for to long for the past is that she was basically happy there, she had a daughter and a lover, both of which she was removed from by the Gilead regime....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Powerful Essays
1915 words (5.5 pages)

Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: An Analysis

- The Handmaid's Tale The novel, The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood focuses on the choices made by the society of Gilead in which the preservation and security of mankind is more highly regarded than freedom or happiness. This society has undergone many physical changes that have led to extreme psychological ramifications. I think that Ms. Atwood believes that the possibility of our society becoming as that of Gilead is very evident in the choices that we make today and from what has occured in the past....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Free Essays
651 words (1.9 pages)

A Handmaid's Tale Essay

- A Handmaid's Tale A new society is created by a group of people who strengthen and maintain their power by any means necessary including torture and death. Margaret Atwood's book, A Handmaid's Tale, can be compared to the morning after a bad fight within an abusive relationship. Being surrounded by rules that must be obeyed because of being afraid of the torture that will be received. There are no other choices because there is control over what is done, who you see and talk to, and has taken you far away from your family....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Free Essays
1650 words (4.7 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]

Powerful Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)

The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Attwood, goes on to explore the consequences that come to be from the reversal of womens rights in a society called Gilead. It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Powerful Essays
1987 words (5.7 pages)

The Handmaid’s Tale Essay

- The Handmaid’s Tale The Handmaid’s Tale and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. draw on different narrative techniques to establish our relationship to their protagonists. Margaret Atwood allows the reader to share the thoughts of the main character, while Philip K. Dick makes the reader explore the mysteries behind the story. Atwood’s style works because she can directly show her readers what she wants. Dick’s opposing style works for him because he can present paradoxes and mysteries and let the reader form the conclusion....   [tags: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale Essays]

Free Essays
1075 words (3.1 pages)