Notes on atwoods handmaids tale essay

Rather, it blends a number of approaches and formats in a radical departure from predictable sci-fi or thriller fiction or feminist literature. As a modern-day Cassandra, Offred seems emotionally and spiritually compelled to tell her story, if only to relieve the ennui of her once nun-like existence and to touch base with reality.

Notes on atwoods handmaids tale essay

The following entry presents criticism on Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale A Canadian and feminist writer, Margaret Atwood is internationally acclaimed as an accomplished novelist, poet, short story writer, and literary commentator.

Her novel The Handmaid's Tale is highly regarded as a provocative work of feminist dystopian fiction that examines the cultural construction of female identity, language, and historical memory. Alternately chilling, satirical, and suspenseful, Atwood's cautionary tale portrays the physical and psychological oppression of women under a futuristic totalitarian regime that reduces its female subjects to mere voiceless, childbearing vessels.

Presented as the eyewitness recollections of its entrapped heroine, the novel vividly displays the dehumanizing effects of ideological rhetoric, biological reductionism, and linguistic manipulation.

Among Atwood's most celebrated works, The Handmaid's Tale displays the author's superior narrative abilities, her distinct poetic voice, and the chief feminist and humanitarian concerns which fascinate her. The proliferation of toxic pollution and sexually transmitted diseases in the near future has caused widespread sterility and a decline of Caucasian births.

The new ruling male theocracy, situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is founded on fundamentalist biblical principles and a social hierarchy designed to promote controlled procreation.

Literary Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

The strict moral code of the regime, a reaction Notes on atwoods handmaids tale essay the amorality and permissiveness of the former United States, is enforced by the constant surveillance of Eyes secret agentsAngels soldiersand Guardians police.

Though women in Gilead are prized for their ability to reproduce, they are forbidden to work, own property, or read.

A select number of women who are fertile and unmarried are recruited as Handmaids; they wear red habits with white hoods and are assigned to a Commander, a high-ranking government official, and his post-menopausal Wife.

The sole function of the Handmaid is to produce children, a task that requires her to engage in ritualized, monthly copulation with the Commander in the presence of his Wife.

Beneath the Handmaids in the caste system are Econowives, the spouses of lower class men who wear striped dresses. The remainder of infertile and unmarried women are divided into the following: Marthas, a servant class designated by drab green dresses; Aunts, a cattleprod-wielding corps entrusted with the indoctrination and discipline of the Handmaids; and Unwomen, a group comprised of resistant women who are sent to the embattled Colonies to clean up toxic waste.

The Handmaid's Tale revolves around the first-person narrative of Offred, a thirty-three year old woman who is forced into the ranks of the Handmaids after a failed attempt to flee to Canada with her husband, Luke, and their young daughter.

Earlier, Offred's mother, an ardent feminist in the old society, was condemned to the Colonies. Offred is a replacement for Fred's former Handmaid, Janine, who has committed suicide.

Margaret Atwood

During paired shopping excursions with Ofglen, another Handmaid, Offred learns of the underground movement called Mayday, of which Ofglen is a part.

Though initially passive and hopeless, Offred is gradually emboldened by her brief exchanges with Ofglen. Offred also becomes involved in an illicit relationship with Commander Fred, who summons her to his study during the evenings to play Scrabble—a illegal activity since women are condemned to illiteracy.

She is compensated with hand lotion and old copies of banned women's magazines.

Notes on atwoods handmaids tale essay

Fred further violates their officially sanctioned relationship by kissing Offred, dressing her in slinky clothing, and taking her out to an underground nightclub called Jezebel's where various Unwomen are assembled for the pleasure of the officers.

There Offred reencounters her friend Moira, a lesbian and rebellious former Handmaid-in-training whose failed escape from the Rachael and Leah Center has landed her a role as a prostitute at the club. At home, Offred also enters into a dangerous clandestine relationship with Nick, the Commander's limousine driver, who may have links to both the secret police and underground resistance.

Her late-night couplings with Nick are tacitly approved by the Commander's Wife, Serena, in an effort to facilitate a speedy pregnancy after Fred fails to inseminate Offred during their monthly sessions.

The Handmaid's Tale Critical Essays - initiativeblog.com

While Offred is permitted to satisfy her sexual longings with Nick, Serena stands to benefit from the prestige of having a birth in her home, a ceremonious event in itself attended by the Wives and Handmaids.

Offred's risky involvements become increasingly perilous and complicated. Serena eventually learns of her unauthorized meetings with Fred and, in the final scene of her narrative, an ominous black van arrives at the Commander's house.

Offred is whisked away either to safety with the underground resistance, perhaps arranged by Nick, or to certain death at the hands of the Eyes. The historians in attendance, presided over by keynote speaker Professor James Darcy Pieixoto, have gathered to debate the authenticity and significance of Offred's account, which has been recently discovered by archaeologists in Bangor, Maine.

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Major Themes The Handmaid's Tale is primarily concerned with the problems of ideological extremism, historical interpretation, and most importantly the objectification of women in modern society.

As in most dystopian fiction, the future setting merely affords the author an opportunity to illustrate the magnified ill effects of familiar contemporary problems left unchecked. Biblical names and allusions permeate the text and the literal interpretation of Genesis The omnipresence of Eyes, Angels, Guardians, and Aunts—all agents of state sponsored repression—evoke an atmosphere of constant surveillance and social control in which biblical mandate, fascist tactics, and technology are all merged.

Atwood frequently employs satire as a method of social critique: Though men also suffer under the tyrannical Gileadean order, Atwood focuses on the persecution of women and their various efforts to resist male domination, including flight Moiradissent Ofglensuicide Janineacceptance Serenaand storytelling Offred.

The use of language as a mode of both manipulation and liberating affirmation is a dominant motif in the novel. For example, the recurring images of eyes, eggs, ovals, and mirrors in the text contrast positive feminine symbols of fertility, continuity, and wholeness with negative aspects of surveillance, control, and imprisonment.The Handmaid's Tale Homework Help Questions.

What is the significance of the words Offred spells in her scrabble games with the commander and Playing Scrabble is like forbidden fruit to Offred.

A summary of Symbols in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Handmaid’s Tale and what it means.

Notes on atwoods handmaids tale essay

Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Essay on The Dystopia in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Words | 5 Pages.

The Dystopia in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Offred is a Handmaid in what used to be the United States, now the theocratic Republic of Gilead. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Handmaid’s Tale Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.

Critical Essays Literary Analysis of The Handmaid's Tale Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List A one-of-a-kind tour de force, Margaret Atwood's futuristic The Handmaid's Tale refuses categorization into a single style, slant, or genre.

Summary, Analysis, and Review of Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' includes a summary of the book, review, analysis & key takeaways and detailed "About the Author" section.

SparkNotes: The Handmaid’s Tale