How does Atwood create parallels and contrast between the 20th century feminism and the oppression of women in Gilead?
Slide 2: Introduction
Good morning, class. The question I will be analysing today is " How does Atwood create parallels and contrasts between 20th century feminism and the oppression of women in Gilead? " I will first look at some background information on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, then I will look at the different kinds of freedom presented in 20th century feminism and Gilead, and I will also explore the two different types of 20th century feminism - radical and contemporary feminism. I will also look at the idea of hierarchy between the women in Gilead, and then come to a conclusion to answer the question posed in the beginning. I believe that the women of Gilead are completely controlled by the men, where as in the 20th Century women had more control.
Slide 3: Background Information
Firstly, I am going to talk about the background information on handmaid's tale. -The novel is set in the Future.
-The USA has been overthrown, and replaced by the Republic of Gilead -Gilead, a patriarchal society, they return back to traditional values, where the men dominate women, men makes all the decisions, and women are inferior compared to men. -Gilead is a dystopian society, a world which has embraced all the negative elements. -It is also a theocracy society where the church controls the government. You can see that as Gilead is a place named in the Bible. -There are different classes of women; some are more high class than others for e.g. the wife of the commander has the highest status out of all women. -In this book, Offred the main character acts as the narrator of the story, she is one of the handmaids, who are like reproduction machines. Handmaids are needed as the fertility rate is low.
Slide 4: Palimpsest
-A Palimpsest is like a board which can be written and erased over and over again. -This signifies that there are multiple layers of history. -Atwood compares the gym to the palimpsest, symbolizing the change in society from USA (a pre-Gilead Society) to the republic of Gilead, suggesting that USA has been erased and replaced. -The environment that offred is in now, has been superimposed on a previous society, and this traces the old past history beneath the new present society. -Therefore you can see the significance of a Palimpsest it creates the differences between the 20th century and Gilead, as it symbolizes the change.
Slide 5: Freedom
-Freedom to was freedom in the pre-Gilead society, the things that were allowed to be done in the past, like voting. -Freedom from are things that women are forbidden to do in Gilead, things that harm them, like promiscuity. As the fertility is low in Gilead, therefore the government protects the women from being raped, so that women can reproduce. -This can show that they have moved from an age of tolerance of the degrading status of women to a time where women have no freedom at all.
Slide 6: 20th century feminism
-Radical Feminism: Offred's Mother
-Staunch Feminist: Moira
Slide 7: Radical Feminism
-Radical Feminism believe that all problems or oppression of women come from man's wish to control everything. -You can see that her actions are of a radical feminist, as you can see that when Offred was shown a video in the Red centre and she saw her mother marching and yelling in an anti-rape march. -They are proud of what they are doing.
-Have control over their own body, fighting their own rights. -They refuse to be seen as sexual object, they want to have rights, like abortion rights. -Radical Feminist and the Gilead government share the same goal, as both parties want to protect women from sexual violence.
Slide 8: Moira (before)
-Moira is a staunch feminist and a lesbian.
-Resourcefulness and independence.
-These are quotes when Moira...