Explore how Atwood uses language to develop the major themes and characters in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, and consider the effect this language use has on the reader using appropriate terminology (such as theme, image, point of view, tone etc).
Explain how tensions in the text are developed, illustrating this by close reference to the text. Apply a range of terms relevant to practical criticism (such as psychoanalytic reading, Lacanian perspective).
The Handmaids Tale is a dystopian novel set in a fascistic future America. The book primarily explores themes of women’s subjugation and what could potentially happen if an extremist Christian group took over the U.S. The Handmaids Tale explores themes of women and the various means by which they gain agency. This essay will look at how Atwood uses language to create different tensions and themes. It will also look at how feminism is used in the Handmaids Tale.
In the Handmaids Tale, nearly everyone has had their identities striped. Although the more powerful have more privileges than others, all of the others have been renamed and repositioned. The body and its functions, especially the fertile female body, have become more important than education, personality or mind.
In the society of the Handmaids Tale, even the powerful live very restricted lives but the Handmaids are more worse off than most. The Handmaids are confined to their bedrooms except for sanctioned outings to grocery stores. Trapped by their low social statuses and fertile bodies, Handmaids barely get to do anything. Feminism originally referred to equal rights for women. The first wave of feminism began in the nineteenth century and was covered with the sexual division of labour. The second wave of feminism started in the 1960’s and was originally known as the women’s liberation movement. In the Handmaids Tale, different roles of the women in the society are explained. The handmaid’s Tale is a straight
Bibliography: Jamshaid, O,2001, Online. Available on: http://cbhandmaidstale.wetpaint.com/page/Omer+Jamshaid+-+Marxism http://schol.wordpress.com/2007/11/12/the-handmaids-tale-narrative-structure/ http://membres.multimania.fr/fredy8/CriticalApproches.html#LANGUAGE Geddis, D, 2001 Online. Available on: http://www.thesatirist.com/books/HANDMAID.html http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/handmaid/characters.html Accessed 05-12-20112 http://www.gradesaver.com/the-handmaids-tale/study-guide/major-themes/ Accessed 01-12-2012.