What is your opinion about a future society? Positive? Negative?
Before I introduce the book to you, there are few useful terminologies that may help you understand the book better. Chauvinism (-st) excessive or blind patriotism Theocracy government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
About the author Margaret is also known for her poetry.
Social class examples Commanders of the faithful; the ruling class, can have Wife and a Handmaid is necessary Wives; top social class permitted to women Handmaids; fertile women whose social function is to bear children for the Wives; dress in red
The new theocratic military dictatorship, styled "The Republic of Gilead", moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily-Christian regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious orthodoxy among its newly-created social classes.
Not going to tell details about the book! You need to read this book to find out what our future society is going to be like!
Dystopian future society Unlike what most people today expect, those two books describe future society to regress to the old ages, where people’s rights and wills are ignored. People are considered as robots that work for hours and hours under totalitarian government ruled by a selected few. 2. Totalitarian government 1984: Big Brother, Ingsoc Handmaid’s: para-military government, theocracy. Only officials at high social status get to enjoy commodities such as “hand lotion”, which Offred demands to the commander as their relationship gets intimate. 3. Language 1984: minimization of language by the use of Newspeak Handmaid’s: extremely similar. Unwoman and unbaby referring to the opposite meaning of woman and baby. Women do not receive education in the state of Gilead nor the men with low social status. They just follow what the governments or commanders instruct them to do. 4. Sexual intercourse 1984: people in 1984’s society are banned to enjoy sexual relationships for pleasure. Instead, they consider it their duty to the party, which means reproducing babies in order to add to the state’s workforce. Handmaid’s: Women are treated as a tool to produce babies. Commanders get to have wife and handmaid’s in case the wife is incapable of producing proper baby. This is the reason for the existence Offred, the main character, and the other handmaids.
The Role of Middle Ages WomenThe women of the Middle Ages were totally dominated by the male members of their family. The women were expected to instantly obey not only their father, but also their brothers and any other male members of the family. Any unruly girls were beaten into submission and disobedience was seen as a crime against religion. (Eyes in the book)
The law, set by men, also greatly limited the freedom of women. Women were not allowed to marry without their parents' consent could own no business with special permission not allowed to divorce their husbands could not own property of any kind unless they were widows could not inherit land from their parents' if they had any surviving brothers
Producing a male heir within a rich family was considered vital. So many women spent a great deal of their married life pregnant. However, childbirth was dangerous as medical care was so poor. It is thought that as many as 20% of all women died in childbirth and it was the most common cause of death among young women.
What do you see in common in these photos? (red color=motif)
1. Realistic depiction 2. No artistic creation allowed in the futuristic society 3. Clear portrayal of the reality (unlike drawings in which creators can express their opinions easily by distorting figures or whatever photography is hard to do it unless using photoshop program) 4. Once taken, photo remains permanent (rigid society depicted in the novel)
Hand: Women, Bounded, Household
Eye (motif): Men, Clairvoyance, Penetration, Control
Represents male (continued motif of red color) Eye: omniscient, omnipotent, penetrating Light: enlightenment, knowledge (something women don’t have access to)
Size: domineering power Position: center of the world
Represents female (continued motif of red color) Hand: household work, vital in human activities but often ignored Window: oppressed, barrier between women and the real world, not transparent Black: depression, death, fear, unknown Phrases: key phrases from the book, motif (Luke, Latin phrase-ignorance of women because Offred isn’t really aware of the meaning but assumes that it is positive, unwoman-burdensome, pushing down, God-theocracy, night-vulnerable, no control, wife-what every woman secretly desires to be)
Black: doomed-fate, miserable, death White: angelic, innocent (black and white contrast each other in order to emphasize the portrayal of women in the novel) Red: fertility, livelihood, handmaid’s color
Wine: religious allusion (motif), theocracy, capability (in bible, Jesus Christ feeds hungry people by distributing bread and wine )
Position of glass: female reproductive organ, vulnerable (eye-level perspective because it is obviously seen)
The handmaid’s tale
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
BY MARGARET ATWOOD
“…I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
Time: Futuristic society
Place: the Republic of Gilead
Theocracy, Stratified society
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Fate
ABOUT THE BOOK
Dystopian future society
Language as a tool to control the public
Sexual intercourse only for reproduction
“…I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate,
because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here
that I haven't signed up for." (page 94)
CONNECTION TO 1984
Unconditional submission to the male member
could own no business without special permission
could not own property of any kind
Duty to producing a male heir
To focus on the gender role
Oppressed women VS. Omnipotent men
Power of language
Dystopian future society
To continue on the motif of red color