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The Handmaids Tale - Online Term Paper

The Handmaids Tale


Many readers are surprised to hear Atwood's novel labeled science fiction, but it belongs squarely in the long tradition of near-future dystopias which has made up a large part of SF since the early50s. SF need not involve technological innovation: it has been a long-standing principle that social change can provide the basis for SF just as well as technical change. The Handmaid's Tale is partly an extrapolation of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, attempting to imagine what kind of values might evolve if environmental pollution rendered most of the human race sterile. It is also the product of debates within the feminist movement in the 70s and early 80s. Atwood has been very much a part of ...

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social trends and exaggerates them to make clear their most negative qualities. They are rarely intended as realistic predictions of a probable future, and it is pointless to criticize them on the grounds of implausibility. Atwood here examines some of the traditional attitudes that are embedded in the thinking of the religious right and which she finds particularly threatening.
But another social controversy also underlies this novel. During the early 80s a debate raged (and continues to rage, on a lower level) about feminist attitudes toward sexuality and pornography in particular. Outspoken feminists have taken all kinds of positions: that all erotica depicting women as sexual objects is demeaning, that pornography was bad though erotica can be good, that although most pornography is demeaning the protection of civil liberties is a greater good which requires the toleration of freedom for pornographers, however distasteful, even that such a thing as feminist pornography can ...

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events such as it depict s are likely to take place, but whether the attitudes and values it conveys are present in today's society.
Atwood's strong point is satire, often hilarious, often very pointed. Humor is in short supply in this novel, but it is a satire nonetheless. Atwood's love for language play (apparent in the anagram of her name she uses for her private business "O. W. Toad") is a major feature of the protagonist of this novel. Her jokes are dark and bitter, but they are pervasive.

There are numerous biblical references in the following notes. You shouldprovide yourself with a Bible, preferably a King James Version, which is whatAtwood uses most of the time. Or use a ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/8/2005 04:04:26 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4790
Pages: 18

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