"The Handmaid's Tale" By Margaret Atwood.

1528 words - 6 pages

English LiteratureThe Handmaids TaleWill society ever reach a point where it is considered the 'natural norm' by all, and therefore unable to undergo further change? It is impossible to imagine that such a point could ever exist, as all people would have different belief, values and expectations according to their past experiences. In The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the oppressive Gilead regime enforces their new ideals on the unsuspecting population. When compared with our contemporary society, the Gilead rule shows us our world in a different and more critical light and shocks us with what we see. It shows us the truth, makes us realise, pulls back the layers of cotton wool and forces us to look at the world as it really is, how it may come to be and the evils and problems within it.The Handmaid's Tale, being science fiction, is based around the future of our society today. Margaret Atwood is predicting what our world will be like if we continue on the way we are. She uses common problems throughout the world such as pollution of the environment to relate people from all walks of life to what has happened in Gilead. By exaggerating these potential disasters she shows us our future in order to shock us into an awareness that our present activities are not only endangering the environment and the animals whose habitats we are destroying but also jeopardizing the survival of the human race.The way the new regime is enforced also makes us look at our society with a critical eye. The change to the Gilead way is very gradual and slowly creeps up on the people without them realising it. "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually warming bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it" . Who is to say that this would not be possible in our time with all the propaganda around telling us what to think? This shows how easy it might be for a small group of well placed people to influence whole populations, bending them to their will without their knowledge. How do we know what we are being told is true?The main character, Offred, has been created in such a way as to make you empathise with her and trust her opinions and point of view. In her life before the Gilead reform we know that she was not a raging feminist like her mother and best friend Moira, nor was she a submissive woman under the thumb of her husband. Because of the fact that she does not seem to be biased in her opinion of gender and power relationships we can take what she tells us as a level view of the society. We believe that what she is telling us is as close to the truth as possible and therefore what she tells us has a greater effect.Throughout the story everything is described as it is, very calmly with no added emotion as that would only cloud the reality. Offred presents the facts of the situation as though she is watching what is going on and has no direct part in it at all. When she is describing the ceremony she simply states what is happening, she gives nothing...

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