The two novels, The Handmaid's Tale and Anthem, are both haunting, first person tales of personal hardship in a closed and controlled society. In this essay I will point out many important similarities and differences between the two books, mainly the setting and the similarities between the two societies in which the stories take place, as well as more important differences between the main characters.
To start I would like to compare the settings of the two books. In Anthem the story takes place sometime in the future after some catastrophic event. Apparently society as we know it was destroyed and the leaders that were left decided that the problem was the individual, that all men are equal in all things and that anything that is created by one person is evil. This train of thought is carried to such and extreme that the very word "I" is removed from their vocabulary. An example of this is found when the main character, Equality-1329, re-invents the electric light. He shows his invention to the scientist and although this invention could improve the quality of life of the people it is deemed "evil" because he worked on his project alone. The society in this book is also strict and authoritarian to the point of dictating what your job will be, to whom you will have children with.
In The Handmaid's Tale the story takes place sometime in the near future after some kind environmental catastrophe that makes it impossible for most women to have children. To solve this problem some radicals set off a nuclear bomb in Washington during a full session of congress and then declare marshal law. They then systematically took all rights away from women and forced the ones that could have children into camps where they would be contracted out to powerful ranking officials to have their children. These women are referred too as "handmaids."
Next, I would like to discuss the main characters, in The...