Criticism In The Handmaids Tale By Margaret Atwood
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A Level English Literature The Handmaid's Tale—Plot Summary
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This is a serious defect, unpardonable maybe for the genre: a future that has no language invented for it lacks a personality. That must be why, collectively, it is powerless to scare. ONE could argue that the very tameness of the narrator-heroine's style is intended as characterization. It is true that a leading trait of Offred we are never told her own, real name in so many words, but my textual detective work says it is June has always been an unwillingness to stick her neck out, and perhaps we are meant to conclude that such unwillingness, multiplied, may be fatal to a free society. After the takeover, she tells us, there were some protests and demonstrations.
Luke [ her husband ] said it would be futile, and I had to think about them, my family, him and her [ their little girl ]. But, though this may characterize an attitude - fairly widespread - it does not constitute a particular kind of speech. And there are many poetical passages, for example chosen at random : ''All things white and circular. I wait for the day to unroll, for the earth to turn, according to the round face of the implacable clock. Characterization in general is weak in ''The Handmaid's Tale,'' which maybe makes it a poet's novel. Nor is the Commander strongly drawn. Again, the Aunts are best. How sad for postfeminists that one does not feel for Offred-June half as much as one did for Winston Smith, no hero either but at any rate imaginable.
It seems harsh to say again of a poet's novel - so hard to put down, in part so striking - that it lacks imagination, but that, I fear, is the problem. They hadn't invented the drop yet'' - the part of the platform that falls away - ''so they hanged her but she lived. The Puritans banished people who didn't agree with them, so we would be rather smug to assume that the seeds are not there. That's why I set the book in Cambridge,'' said the Canadian author, who lives in Toronto and has traveled widely in the United States.
Like many of her fictional women she has written poems, essays and novels, notably the feminist classic ''Surfacing'' , she is wryly unpolemical. The regime gives women some things the women's movement says they want -control over birth, no pornography - but there's a price. If you were going to put in a repressive regime, how would you do it? The book won't tell you who to vote for,'' she said. But she advises, ''Anyone who wants power will try to manipulate you by appealing to your desires and fears, and sometimes your best instincts. Women have to be a little cautious about that kind of appeal to them.
What are we being asked to give up? There is a passage in the novel in which the Commander describes to Offred why Gilead was formed and what it was about feminism that offended the male population so fundamentally. He creates an excuse for controlling the women around him, although one he appears to believe, about how he felt as though he lost his purpose in life as a provider and protector. Hope and happiness are few are far between and Offred only just makes it from day to day in her life.
The entirety of her independence has been striped away from her. There are moments of nostalgia as well when Offred pines for the past and the family she used to have. Throughout the novel, Margaret Atwood uses a nonlinear style of writing. These flashbacks provide the reader with the information they need to understand how Offred got to where she is and what happened to her family. The novel is also quite introspective. Offred spends a great deal of time analyzing her own emotions and intentions. In regards to figurative language, Atwood uses metaphors and similes throughout the novel in order to create the most poignant images she could.
Additionally, Atwood uses numerous examples of allusion. She crafted much of the novel around Biblical principles of how a woman should act. There are also quotes from the Old Testament and direct references to stories. Such as that of Rachel and Leah. Foreshadowing and repetition are also present in the novel. The color red is one of the most important symbols in the novel. The tulips are also red. Makeup is a complex symbol in the novel. It at once symbolizes felinity and the lost freedom that Offred longs for as well as control. Sometimes I repeat the words to myself. Offred resist the regime through a phrase that has inspired her to hope others like her will eventually read it.
Handmaids are reeducated in training centers by Aunts indeed are one of the castes women are placed into. In the reeducation centres they are forced to witness men reading a religious sayings but are denied the opportunity to object these beliefs. Furthermore, Atwood presents language as mechanism for power. In Gilead, all females are forced into castes that will serve the leaders of Gilead. After a war devastated this society, a scarce amount of fertile women remained. This has become into a nation problem for those who live in Gilead, without women who can bear children, the population will seek to extant.
Thus, these women are valued exclusively for their reproduction capability. With that said, oppression on Handmaids to conceive a child are revealed throughout the novel in various ways. In order for Handmaids to procreate children they must have be trained, Aunts train these women, therefore the regime controls women through this conditioning centers.
Handmaids objectify the immense power the government of Gilead maintains as they are forced to leave their identity, including their names.