The Handmaid's Tale and Society

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The traditions of the utopian genre are constantly evolving for it to remain relevant to society’s present concerns. Thomas Moore’s novel “Utopia” written in 1516 was employed to mock the values of the Absolute Monarchy of England. Moore protests against the notion of failed idealisms within his society, presenting an alternative solution of an equal island, Utopia, which in actual fact translates to ‘no place’. From the suggestion of a complementary world where things run smoother, has seen the appearance of a rebellion against the traditional genre, composers now expressing their concerns as a forewarning. Aspects of Utopia have been subverted to create a Dystopian environment. An example of this is the late twentieth century film, American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes. Outlooks on the American Dream ridiculed, and is questioned the limits that the suburban lifestyle places on you. This is demonstrated through the resisting character of Lester Burnham. Alma De Groen’s Australian play reflects the dystopian genre to suggest the impossibility of achieving equality for all genders. The twentieth century novel The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Attwood confronts the features of a totalitarian society, as she is concerned with the objectifications placed upon women, and was written in conjunction with the 1980s Women’s Liberation Movement.

Moore’s novel deals with his protest against injustices faced within his society of Tudour England; a society faced with poverty and a lack of education. The character of Raphael is used to illustrate the faults. The setting of the island Utopia, is a microcosm for England which was meant to be one of the most civilised nations in the world. Moore criticises aspects of England such as the unequal distribution of wealth. This theme is subverted in the novel where the accumulation of excessive wealth is regarded as an inconvenience; “We could easily do without silver and gold if it weren’t for the idiotic concept of...
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