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How Have The Following Speculative Fiction Texts You Studied Gone Beyond The Expectations Of The Genre?

2819 words - 11 pages

For a text to be classified as Speculative Fiction it must be a combination of both Fantasy and Science Fiction and include the conventions which are traditionally associated with the genre. The elements commonly found in Speculative Fiction include the examination of humanity's misuse of technology, abuse of power, politics, religion, perceptions of freedom and above all presenting a question as to what may be in the future?The three texts which I have studied, "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood, Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" and Frank Herbert's "Dune", all follow the nature of Speculative Fiction, containing the conventions and themes which make Speculative Fiction such an interesting and dynamic genre to study. However, these texts have done more than simply adhere to the customary aspects of Speculative Fiction; they have gone beyond the usual expectations of the genre, constructing worlds and environments which expand the elements of the genre to provide a more comprehensive insight into the state of humanity and possible futures."The Handmaid's Tale"Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" has been described as a 'dystopian novel, that is, one which describes a future world which is the antithesis of a utopia. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have described horrifying dystopian societies, where certain recognizable elements of our own world are extended and entrenched to create societies where the values, attitudes and practices of the worlds are truly frightening.In the "The Handmaid's Tale" Atwood creates the new world of Gilead, which has arisen out of the United States of the 1980's, yet is a future few people would find a desirable place to live. In creating Gilead, Atwood has not only constructed a frightening dystopia, but has extended the story to warn us against taking our present freedoms for granted, as well as suggesting that we should be careful about how we allow our social, political and environmental world to develop. She uses this future society to warn us against mindless acceptance of democracy and against anything which erodes tolerance of difference and civil rights which form the basis of our freedom as individuals. Atwood has gone beyond the expectations of the genre by not only discussing the themes of politics and religion, but by providing a warning and possible ways of avoiding the problems she presents in the future society of Gilead.Another way which Atwood manages to go beyond expectations of the genre is through her excellent introduction of satire, often hilarious, often very pointed. Despite the humour being in short supply, it is satire nonetheless. Atwood's clever incorporation of language play and satire is a major feature of the novel's protagonist, Offred, who possesses a dark sense of humour, a wit that makes her descriptions of the bleak horrors of Gilead bearable, even enjoyable.Offred, the narrator and protagonist of the novel, is like most of the other women in...

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