Handmiad's Tale

Topics: The Handmaid's Tale, Totalitarianism, Science fiction Pages: 3 (1259 words) Published: August 9, 2013
Advanced English Assessment 2
A truly valuable novel is not purely based on content, but has the ability to challenge and spur readers into reaction based on construction and language of the text. Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale is a true example of such value, as her novel not only attracts readers but also warns us of the uncertainties and dangers of the future. She demonstrates how language can be used as a powerful tool for both manipulation and domination as well as how reconstructions of both fiction and history can never be objective. Although the content of a dystopian novel provides the reader with high levels of entertainment, it has no significance unless it is able to stimulate readers to consider and reflect upon the world as it is today. The Handmaid’s Tale exposes readers to the true power of language and its ability to cease creativity and freethinking. Governments of Gilead know that the fundamental key to complete control is the power of words and language. In efforts to dominate society, language is contained and restricted thus preventing the fluidity of communication and all viable sources of information. By choosing suitable scriptures from justifiable passages such as the bible, it provides methods of indoctrination and manipulation. The Handmaid’s are forced to listen chosen sections of the bible such as from Genesis 30:1 ‘Give me children or I shall die! … here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her … and even I may have children through her.’ By feeding only chosen information to society, women are thus led to believe their existence is only to function as ‘Two legged wombs and sacred vessels.’ The definition of Gilead provides further Biblical allusions, as its name suggests a fertile and desirable land, which is ironic since Gilead in Atwood’s novel describes the exact opposite. Gilead has become a wasteland devastated with war and oppression of its own citizens. The Governments of Gilead fails to mention that the bible continues to describe the...
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