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  • 1. The Handmaid’s Tale as a Dystopian Novel By: Jessica Hagood Ian Martineau Daniel Nolfi
  • 2.  The novel takes place in the United States. The novel is set in the future. It is during a time when the government has been destroyed by a group of fundamentalists. Many women are infertile. Women may not own anything. This system has developed gradually.
  • 3. “A dystopia (or alternatively cacotopia) is afictional society, usually portrayed as existing ina future time, when the conditions of life areextremely bad due to deprivation, oppression,or terror. Science fiction, particularly post-apocalyptic science fiction and cyberpunk,often feature dystopias. Social critics, especiallypostmodern social critics, also use the term"dystopian" to condemn trends in post-industrialsociety they see as negative.” (Charles’ George Orwell Links)
  • 4.  TheStatus of the IndividualThe main character has a low status. The Nature of PowerPower resides in one corrupt dictator or an entire corrupt government. CommunicationPoor, artificial communication; another method of control.
  • 5.  Offred is portrayed as low status by:  She must go places in two’s.  She is not allowed to touch anyone.  She is controlled by Serena Joy.  She is limited in speaking and may not read or write.  She does not own any property.
  • 6.  Power is divided by:  People are broken up into clearly defined classes that each have names.  Each class has a certain power over one another.  The Eyes are the commanding force.  Even though each group has its own power, no one truly has that much power.
  • 7.  Communication is limited by:  Handmaids must watch what they say and when they say it.  People fear that there are microphones listening to what they say.  There are no more newspapers or magazines.  T.V. is regulated, and they only show positive aspects of the war.  People are forbidden from talking about the past and people they once knew.
  • 8.  Exaggerates modern trends towards their most extreme conclusions. Often, this serves as a warning to the reader. Transformation of social structure into a rigid class system. The presence of a tyrannically government that controls all aspects of a society. In a Dystopian novel, the populace is under constant surveillance by said tyrannical state. Rigid rules and restriction of freedom to achieve idealized society. Often times these rules go against basic human nature. Other Examples of Dystopian Genre: George Orwell, “1984” Aldous Huxley, “A Brave New World”
  • 9.  Caste System: People are prescribed to rigid roles in Gilead. Women especially are divided into different classes which severely limit their rights. “It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency" (Atwood 174).  The fundamentalists first kill those in power to destabilize the government and then enact martial law. After “temporarily suspending the constitution” and burning all of the books, they have complete intellectual power over the people.  Aim to rid their society of abortion, free-thinkers and any religions apart from their own perverse version of Christianity.
  • 10. Women take on feminine roles as… Commanders’ Wives Handmaids Marthas Econowives Unwomen Unbabies Jezebels" We are two-legged wombs, thats all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices” ( 176).
  • 11. Men take on leadership and “in control” roles… Commanders Angels Eyes Guardians
  • 12.  Red: Handmaids  Faster heartbeat and breathing (life). Blue: Wives  Sad and depressing. Green: Marthas  Calm and relaxing. Black: Eyes  Authority and power. Implies submission. Stripes: Econowives  Mix of all colors.
  • 13.  Novel  They still have common things such as stop signs, sidewalks, dishtowels, etc.  There is a black market.  “Even now that there is no real money anymore, there’s still a black market” (14).  Men still “caress” their cars.  “ This at least hasn’t changed, the way men caress good cars” (17).  They still have games like Scrabble.  “I’d like you to play a game of Scrabble with me” (138).
  • 14.  Privacy Freedoms  Speech  Press  Religion Equality Ability to Travel (change as well) Love Piece of Mind