CONTEXT - The Handmaid's Tale

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  • CONTEXT - The Handmaid's Tale
    • Atwood wrote the book shortly after Presidents and Prime Ministers were elected
      • Margaret Thatcher, GB
    • AIDS
      • Was an epidemic, now a pandemic
      • AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
      • Caused by the Human Immunodefici--ency Virus (HIV)
      • In America it was recognised and HIV was identified in the early 1980s, shortly before Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale
    • Nuclear-Plant Accidents
    • Romanian Children
      • In Historical Notes, Pieixoto mentions the banning of birth control in Romania. Romania was under a Communist leadership
        • President Ceausescu wanted to increase his country's population and increase the fertility rate
        • From 1967 to 1990, birth control and abortions were severely restricted
        • Romanian women of the child-bearing age were each expected to have five children
          • As a consequence, thousands of unwanted children were born and many thousands abandoned
        • Atwood uses this real disaster to make her readers consider Gilead's laws on childbirth and its anti-abortion stance
    • Homosexuality
      • In Gilead, homosexuals are punished
        • This is shown in chapter 8: Offred sees the bodies of those hanged for Gender Treachery
        • This is shown in chapter 38: Moira tells Offred that other so-called Gender Traitors are sent to the Colonies
      • in the1980s, the outbreak of HIV occurred. The epidemic was commonly linked to gay men, and homophobia was at its peak
    • R a p e
      • In chapter 7, Atwood introduces the topic of attitudes to r a p e, a burning issue for a feminist like Moira. Moira writes a paper on date r a p e, and Offred teases Moira, suggesting that it isn't an important problem: 'You're so trendy. It sounds like some kind of dessert. Date R a p é'.
      • In chapter 13, Offred tells us about the deliberate humiliation at the Red Centre of Janine, who was gang-***** and made by Aunt Helena to believe it was her own fault. She tells the other handmaids that Janine must have 'led them on'.
        • The handmaids are made to point at Janine chanting 'her fault'. Atwood indicated that **** is by no means a matter for laughter, nor is it an act allowed by God, as Aunt Helena insists, to 'teach her a lesson'.
  • Polygamy
    • CONTEXT - The Handmaid's Tale
      • Atwood wrote the book shortly after Presidents and Prime Ministers were elected
        • Margaret Thatcher, GB
      • AIDS
        • Was an epidemic, now a pandemic
        • AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
        • Caused by the Human Immunodefici--ency Virus (HIV)
        • In America it was recognised and HIV was identified in the early 1980s, shortly before Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale
      • Nuclear-Plant Accidents
      • Romanian Children
        • In Historical Notes, Pieixoto mentions the banning of birth control in Romania. Romania was under a Communist leadership
          • President Ceausescu wanted to increase his country's population and increase the fertility rate
          • From 1967 to 1990, birth control and abortions were severely restricted
          • Romanian women of the child-bearing age were each expected to have five children
            • As a consequence, thousands of unwanted children were born and many thousands abandoned
          • Atwood uses this real disaster to make her readers consider Gilead's laws on childbirth and its anti-abortion stance
      • Homosexuality
        • In Gilead, homosexuals are punished
          • This is shown in chapter 8: Offred sees the bodies of those hanged for Gender Treachery
          • This is shown in chapter 38: Moira tells Offred that other so-called Gender Traitors are sent to the Colonies
        • in the1980s, the outbreak of HIV occurred. The epidemic was commonly linked to gay men, and homophobia was at its peak
      • R a p e
        • In chapter 7, Atwood introduces the topic of attitudes to r a p e, a burning issue for a feminist like Moira. Moira writes a paper on date r a p e, and Offred teases Moira, suggesting that it isn't an important problem: 'You're so trendy. It sounds like some kind of dessert. Date R a p é'.
        • In chapter 13, Offred tells us about the deliberate humiliation at the Red Centre of Janine, who was gang-***** and made by Aunt Helena to believe it was her own fault. She tells the other handmaids that Janine must have 'led them on'.
          • The handmaids are made to point at Janine chanting 'her fault'. Atwood indicated that **** is by no means a matter for laughter, nor is it an act allowed by God, as Aunt Helena insists, to 'teach her a lesson'.
    • In Historical Notes, Pieixoto refers to the use of Handmaids as a form of 'simultaneous polygamy' like that practised 'in the...state of Utah'.
    • Atwood refers to the real, and still flourishing group, known as the Mormons

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