The hands maid tale is skillfully woven book that touches on plenty of issues. Though the book was written 1985, it has received present time praises that have increased its sales over the past few years. Serializing of the book on film also drew critics to it as it raised many touching issues; love, politics, religion, gender, language and sex among many other many other contemporary issues that still spark debates in the 21st century.
We must acknowledge that the writer employed interesting writing styles to clearly depict the themes she wanted so as to achieve the rewards of a timeless masterpiece. Repetition to create emphasis was the main writing device. The recent buyers have had the motivation to acquire and read the book because each of them can at least find a sentimental issue to connect to from the book.
My literature review will delve into on one theme from the book that will capture the attention of most of the readers because the society at large is by all means connected to it.I chose the theme of oppression because there a many people that will connect to this due to its diversity. In this theme are many other sub themes that can be expounded on; social oppression, religious oppression, economic oppression, gender oppression among many other forms.
This paper is to make the audience aware of pressing issue and around them and motivate them to act to emancipate themselves. I will gauge the effect of my work according to how I will captivate my audience. The connection that my desired audience will feel towards my review will prove the sweat I put in it to. I will use online reviews to build my case and scholarly articles prove my point.
Relevant examples with connection to the issues around us will be elaborated in the discussion part of the research. First I will elaborate and give a general meaning to the theme then state the specific types of oppression I will be touching on depending on how the book has presented it in its characters and stage setting.
The scholarly references and online reviews will be stated and I will use my own arguments; that I will mainly draw from my culture to explain how my society perceives the matter and their notions or decisions they have on it. Where possible, I will be stating the origin of the notions and what they eventually lead to; either more oppression or redemption. My introduction will begin with the statement problem as depicted in the book.
That will be followed by the research materials and research methods I used to expound on my themes. Finally, I will explain the main reason behind my writing and how it will help the readers connect to the real time issues. When looking for online reviews, ones made by literature professors would be most preferable. When selecting scholarly articles; I will stick to ones that expound to the theme of oppression to prevent myself from derailing the theme or my audience the chance of questioning my relevance.
The links between the book, the theme in question, the reviews and scholarly articles capped with my earnest opinion about how the society perceives the matter will define the credibility of my essay. The main objective behind the essay is to show the audience that there exist unseen problems in the society; ones that happen as a norm and that there are solutions to them.
This paper really matters to the society as it will give a guide on many other themes in the book and show the way to liberation from their miserable status quos. IntroductionOppression is the central theme in the book as it lays foundation to all other evils in the book. Sexism, gender discrimination, religious oppression and classism all lay allegiance to the theme. The major part of the book is a recollection of events from the protagonist; Offred.
She is giving her take to her new audience after she luckily fled the dreaded city of Gilead. The language she uses; gives vivid picture to the grotesque status quo she was in. the authors base of emphasis also stresses on the key theme; oppression. Gilean is an imaginary authoritarian city that came into being when there was a significant drop in fertility scores and with them a drop of birthrates. The ruling class saw it relevant to come up with laws that would class people for the roles they were to do in that jurisdiction.
Women were the main prey under the claws; they were to strictly bear children. No education or jobs were given to them as they would pose competition to men and divert them from their main role; reproduction. Margaret’s description to them through the protagonist is; a set of ovaries encompassing a womb. They were barred from talking alcohol, caffeine or nicotine as it would reduce their fertility.
The paradox is that it is women other female characters that take pleasure in oppressing other women either to please the regime or themselves. The society has also been oppressed as they have been classified and color coded. Different colors specified roles and authority to be used over the subject.Research methodQualitative literature analysis is the method I have employed in the whole research. The characters in the novel handmaid’s tale are ones that I have used to extrapolate the theme of oppression.
The settings in the book and the mood it presents made the book a choice as they all blended significantly to the theme in question. Carefully reading the novel was the first step. I had to be precise so as to note the stylistic devices used and their motive in either backing or refuting of the theme. My understanding of the book was enhanced by specific reviews of it that targeted the theme at hand.
In order to relate the theme with the issues in the 21st century, I referenced the reviews and my own findings to scholarly articles that touch on the present issues. Watching the television series also clarified my view as it clearly depicted the situation as it was during the scripting of the book. The mood, setting and ambience set in the movie were a clear replica of the ones in the book. Apart from focusing on these only, I also touched on the other main theme to gauge if they are the ones that catalyzed the oppression or if oppression was the base that all other evils in the book were built on.
That I did so as to cast away the shadow of biasness and portray issues as they were set to be by the author in a bid to convince my audience that the issues in the book were the exact semblance of the issues they faced.ResultsEven from the prologue of the book it was clear that oppression was the wind that sails of the evils in the book rode on. To be precise, it was gender oppression that lay founding to the utopian city and sexism that paved way for the ruling class.
My own analysis revealed that oppression was so deep that the individuals and the society saw it as a norm and had no hope or motive to redeem them at all. The analysis put to record that there exist 2 measures of oppressions; systematic oppression and individual oppression. Systematic was one imposed by the regime; the formulated draconian laws and individual oppression was one that the individuals forced themselves to believe that what was being done to them was right and that they better contend with it or risk an immature end.
From the commentary and remarks that the series got I noticed oppression was still the center stage in the present societies. In the book we saw the blacks and the Jews being treated differently from the rest of the ruling class; the whites. They even had names tags to refer to them; racial oppression. We see that the laws hugely disfavored them and they were given the crudest of all jobs and invoked the harshest form of punishments; death.
Religion was seen as a catalyst to the broadening of them theme and not a savior to the situation; religious oppression. Color coding was done define authority, privileges and roles. Here I saw no form of rebellion to it and a society that was treated quite highly than the other always exploited the ones that were below it. This treatment and exploitation was toned down to individual level and done in the most sleek and dreadful ways; we notice that the characters mused at themselves for stamping their authorities over others.
Depending on who was doing the oppression, why it was being done and where it was being done led to diversification and further classification of the evil; dictatorship, racism, sexism and sycophantism. Those were the exact settings that were portrayed in the televised series yet it spurred a lot of critics that it invoked bitter dissent in people.
DiscussionIn this part I will be giving my evidence in support in the systematic then individual oppression format backed by speeches of the characters in the book and showing the page numbers. I will further give my own views about the cause and course of the speech and the motive behind it according to the setting and the situation the character was in. I will back my claim with a scholarly article then finalize this chapter with how the issues relate in our present society across the globe.
Systematic oppression was prevalent to the book as it the law of gender classification and prescribed women to reproductive roles only. Women were raped and the whole thing enshrined in the law that formed ‘The ceremony’. This is the law that gave rise to handmaids (himberg-2018). Women are given no choice as the ‘Aunts’ force them to commit themselves to the profaning doctrines or choose between that, death and the ‘unwomen’.
We see the Offred justifying the act by saying “..nor does rape cover it; nothing is going o here that I haven’t signed up for” (artwood-94). It is her justification and compliance that depicts individual oppression.The law that handmaids were only bear children with generals was another form of systematic oppression (haghi-2016).
Twisted religious definitions also added weight on this saying that their God considered it a sin. The handmaids and ones that impregnated them would face automatic death penalties if found out. In this case we see Ofglen describe Janine’s despondency she thinks its her fault..two in a row for being sinful” (artwood-215). This was after Janine had lost two of her babies. Janine is not happy with the situation but she justifies it.
That statement reveals the height of individual oppression and that melted the people’s willingness to stand for themselves.The laws Gilean were so ruthless to law breakers or even purported law breakers. We see a police force called ‘the Angels’ that was basically an execution squad set to squash rebels; systematic oppression. A holy nun, aunt Lydia even works as spy in addition to being an administrator to the monastery that bred handmaids.
A wall is even built to display the corpses of the rebels. In the heights of all we see the Offred justify the people hanged on the wall “have committed atrocities and must be made into examples, for the rest” (artwood-42).ConclusionThe above examples can be related to the scenarios prevalent in the present times. Back in 2014 we saw boko haram in Nigeria abduct 200 school girls and take them to militia camps so that they could sire a new generation of rebels.
These are the same scenarios where gender discrimination breeds, we are aware of some primitive societies like the Maasai in Kenya that do not allow their girls to get education and they believe that their role is strictly to reproduce and take care of men (myers-2018). If we tone issues down we will see the need to dissect why Arab states dictate that women should never be their leaders leave alone drive cars.
When names of heroin ladies like Rewiyya, Briska Bernard, Sayidat Zuhal get mentioned we see that women all over the world need saving as the vice has become a norm in the societies we live in (rea-2017). it his high time that people stop viewing these vices as norms and see the reasons behind the laws formulated or their adverse effects.
Margaret Artwood- 1985The Handmaid’s TaleS Haghi-2016
Suppressing Agency: transitive analysis of Margaret Artwood’s The Handmaid’s TaleJ Rea-2017
Lessons from handmaid’s taleJ Himberg-2018The lavender menace returns: reading gender and sexuality in the Handmaid’s TaleN Myers-2018
Hearing voices among the indigenous Maasai women in Tanzania: implications for global mental health
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