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Blessed are the silent ; survival and resistance in Margaret Atwoods The handmaids tale
2001 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian fiction in the same genre as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. However, there are two significant differences. First, although the story is set in the future it resembles our present, as Atwood states: “The Handmaid’s Tale is a slight twist on the society we have now”. This is to say, there is nothing in the novel that is not based on reality, on something which has already happened in our history, or is currently happening. Secondly, the novel concentrates on women’s lives, and situations within this society (Davidson 24). The focus is especially on one woman, Offred, who lives in a country ruled by men using the Bible to justify the misogynist and fascist theocracy they have created. The narrator, Offred, is bereft of her personal identity, language, and desires. However, in the course of the novel her desire to take back what rightfully belongs to her increases. Initially, it is her hunger for survival which makes her begin taking back some of her rights as a human being; subsequently, she never totally gives in to the regulations of the Gilead totalitarian regime. Since, Offred is not a heroic character in the traditional sense, but is more a typical person, her resistance is not ostentatious, but rather subtle, forming itself within her and displayed in rather safe situations. In showing her resistance in this way she is not only able to survive, but also in her small ways influences her surrounding. In this essay I will begin with an introduction about the Gilead society, women in Gilead in general, and then the Handmaids as a phenomenon in the same society. Finally, I will introduce Offred –the main character, and will explore her growing resistance through looking at her re-establishing her personal identity, language, and desires mainly accomplished through her hunger for survival.

Abstract [en]

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian fiction in the same genre as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. However, there are two significant differences. First, although the story is set in the future it resembles our present, as Atwood states: “The Handmaid’s Tale is a slight twist on the society we have now”. This is to say, there is nothing in the novel that is not based on reality, on something which has already happened in our history, or is currently happening. Secondly, the novel concentrates on women’s lives, and situations within this society (Davidson 24). The focus is especially on one woman, Offred, who lives in a country ruled by men using the Bible to justify the misogynist and fascist theocracy they have created. The narrator, Offred, is bereft of her personal identity, language, and desires. However, in the course of the novel her desire to take back what rightfully belongs to her increases. Initially, it is her hunger for survival which makes her begin taking back some of her rights as a human being; subsequently, she never totally gives in to the regulations of the Gilead totalitarian regime. Since, Offred is not a heroic character in the traditional sense, but is more a typical person, her resistance is not ostentatious, but rather subtle, forming itself within her and displayed in rather safe situations. In showing her resistance in this way she is not only able to survive, but also in her small ways influences her surrounding. In this essay I will begin with an introduction about the Gilead society, women in Gilead in general, and then the Handmaids as a phenomenon in the same society. Finally, I will introduce Offred –the main character, and will explore her growing resistance through looking at her re-establishing her personal identity, language, and desires mainly accomplished through her hunger for survival.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , 27 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53860Local ID: ENG D-11OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53860DiVA: diva2:1102420
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • nn-NB
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