In the handmaids tale and 1984 - Sample Essay
In the handmaids tale there are many reference toto colour and scent, and flowers. All these can been seen as quite feminim qualities. Atwood gives women a much more positive light, some argue that atwood is doing the same as orwell but simply reversing the roles and portraying men in a negative light. However I do not feel this as been correct. Orwell/winston never has anything postive attitude to women throughout the novel. Though the representation of men is not equal to women in the handmaids tale, the men in atwoods world are still given much better light then the women of orwells novel.
offreds relationship with luke and nike are much more believble then winston and julia. The commander is offreds opresser and atwood could have portrayed him much more negativly as well as the some of the male guards, instead the comander feels sympathetic towards offred and offred sees the comander and the various guard as supressed,she in a way feels sympathy towards them. Symbolism is another thing that both books have strongly in comman. Both novel share colour coded uniforms for every level of society, but it is the handmaids red dress which has the most symbolic meaning behind it.
the red color of the costumes worn by the Handmaids symbolizes fertility, Red suggests blood of the menstrual cycle and of childbirth which is all related to the primary function of the Handmaids, to bear children. At the same time, however, red is also a reprsentative of sexual sin. While the Handmaids’ reproductive role supposedly finds its justification from the Bible, in some sense they commit adultery by having sex with their Commanders, who are married men. The wives, who often call the Handmaids sluts, feel the pain of this sanctioned adultery.
The Handmaids’ red garments can be then said to symbolize the ambiguous sinful nature of the Handmaids’ position in Gilead. In 1984 it is The Glass Paperweight that has the most significant meaning behind it Winston buys this paperweight in an antique store in the prole district and it comes to symbolize his attempt to reconnect with the past. Winston is constantly trying to reconnect with the past, but this is a difficult task for winston as the party has plagued peoples minds with propaganda. The Party is able to replace individuals’ memories with its own version of the truth.
It becomes nearly impossible for people to question the Party’s power in the present when they accept what the Party tells them about the past. Winston buys the paper wieght because it becauseit It stands for the fragile little world that Winston and Julia have made for each other. They are the coral inside of it. As Orwell wrote: “It is a little chunk of history, that they have forgotten to alter”. Symbolically, when the Thought Police arrest Winston at last, the paperweight shatters on the floor. . Gilead and the government of 1984 are similar and different in many ways. 1984’s Big Brother represent god.
He constantly watching you, montoring you and will punish you for doing wrong. Throughout London, Winston sees posters showing a man gazing down over the words “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” everywhere he goes. Big Brother is the face of the Party. The citizens are told that he is the leader of the nation and the head of the Party, but Winston can never determine whether or not he actually exists. In any case, the face of Big Brother symbolizes the Party in its public manifestation; he is a reassurance to most people (the warmth of his name suggests his ability to protect), but he is also an open threat (one cannot escape his gaze).
Big Brother also symbolizes the vagueness with which the higher ranks of the Party present themselves-it is impossible to know who really rules Oceania, what life is like for the rulers, or why they act as they do. Winston thinks he remembers that Big Brother emerged around 1960, but the Party’s official records date Big Brother’s existence back to 1930, before Winston was even born. Gilead worships the same God that we know, they just take him more seriously than we do. Gilead has permitted itself to be poisoned with radioactivity and a fanaticism that is political, religious and moral.
In both 1984 and Gilead, pleasure is a crime against society and sex is valuable for the sole purpose of having children. Books are burned and birth control is a dim memory of a heathen past. Society compensates for both the loss of nature and the loss of sex with two-minute hates (1984) and Prayvaganzas and Salvagings (Gilead). fix this When looking at the handmaids tale and 1984, what is it that the authors have achievd through their novel? The critic babera holiday says “in the handmaids tale, a futuristic satire, she(attwood)casts society aside,exposing womens primal fear of being used and helpless” I agree partly with this view.
The handmaids tale is dominated by offreds feelings of having to be in the position she is in, a “two legged womb” as she describes it. She longs for so much more but is ultimatly helpless. But I think the novel as a whole is so much more then just womens fear of being used and helpless. It’s a wrning of fundamentalist ideals to the extreme. I also feel that atwood convey a strenghth of people in general. Offred under the most extreme circumstances rebels. Even if she does not openly delcare it , internaly she does not accept the life she has and in the end she does escape.
Whatever way offred escapes, the fact is she has survived. “survivol of the fitest” is the term which comes to mind. Every human has this basic instinct which is to survive, and the handmaids tale is one persons story of surival, this ultimatly leaves the reader with hope. 1984 does not have this same effectThe seat of power in a dystopian society can rest with an individual corrupt dictator or a corrupt governmental entity, but the effect is much the same; the individual is crushed and freedom curtailed.
Nineteen-Eighty-Four is a prime example of this; the Party, with its figurehead in ‘Big Brother’, controls every aspect of its members’ lives. Perhaps the most frightening thing about the nature of power in Orwell’s society is its irrefutability. The Ministry of Truth can literally erase an individual from existence, while the Ministry of Love and its Thought Police can break one’s soul. As we close on the broken Winston, utterly devoted to Big Brother, we see that there is no hope for the individual, as the Party is so infinitely secure.