Handmaids Tale and Frankenstein comparison

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  • Handmaids tale and Frankenstein comparison
    • Power
      • social engineering and social order and class
        • Totalitarianism (1930s) – Nazi Germany –the idea of social control – constant spying on each other – people defined on what their role was    
        • Iranian revolution (1980s) – complete reappointment of role, women lost power over night – hierarchy according being male or female    
      • class issues
        • Lots of class issues at the time, many poor people were seen as monstrous. The French Revolution happened and the English were unsettled and nervous.  
    • Science and Anxiety about progress and abuse
      • animal electricity - can you make a soul?
        • Animal electristity – Franklin, Galvinism, Aldini    
      • nuclear war- cold war & fertility
        • 1986 (after book) Chernobyl
        • first test tube baby & court battle over surrogacy  and abortion
        • "we are very good at letting the genie out of the bottle but not good at putting it back in" - Atwood
    • gender - male/female - exclusion of the female
      • the battle of the male explorers and travellers vs the women stuck at home - men are the people who go forward
        • silent passive females
        • Mary Shelley eloped with a married man and ran away - not typical woman
        • Mary Wollstonecraft - feminist writer and authors mother
      • Women should be in the home - men be the ones to lead and work - same idea
        • anti-feminist backlash
          • Phyllis Schaffley = Serena Joy?
          • when they got what they wished for it wasn't good
        • taking it to the furthest extreme
          • satire - lets go back to basics and see what happens
        • speculative fiction
          • dystopian - society gone wrong
    • Religion
      • Playing God - Modern Prometheus
        • Paradise lost - retelling Genesis (sometimes Satan has a point - not just evil)
      • making and taking life - moral repercussions - how do you put in a soul?
        • gets the best body parts - it all looks wrong
      • mono theocracy - religious law and regime
        • Sharia law
        • puritains ideas and laws
        • using biblical words wrongly
          • miss quoting and misusing the stories
          • naming officers as angles to give authority
        • going against God - not just the regime
        • Regan and the moral majority
          • TV evangelism
    • Identity
      • loss of identity
        • education and social exclusion - without education you cannot define yourself
          • William Godwin (shelly's father) - Enlightenment movement
            • human beings can achieve perfection if they are educated and nurtured - you can have the ideal human being
          • Rousseau
            • noble savage
        • is Frankenstein homosexual?
          • attempts to by-pass the female and create life on his own
          • speaks romantically about Clerval
          • homosexuality was outlawed & Marriage was controlled
            • Shelley eloped - right to chose who you spend the rest of your life with
            • doesn't want to have sex with his "more than sister"
      • State takes your identity
        • no woman has a name "Offred"
        • rebellion - she does have a name and she attempts to keep these memories allive
    • Language
      • use of the sublime as a language within itself
      • language is presented as a scientific tool
        • moster learns that language at the same time as Safie
      • monster believes that language can conquer aesthetic prejudice
        • even language cannot win out against looks
      • Civilisation vs Nature
      • How language controls
        • a scientific tool used to control
          • people have to use it in a certain way
          • used by regime and rebellion
      • "context is all"
        • historical notes - history is someone else interpretation
          • no such this as certain truth
    • freedom and hope
      • master not being free / Frankenstein not being free (DOUBLE)
        • social exclusion - not being allowed in
        • when master has hope - Delaceys - master still denied hope
          • family
          • acceptance
      • sense of hope winning
        • Offred is broken
          • parellels with 1984 - Orwell
        • hope that Nick comes through for her - saves her
        • railroad that got the slaves out = Frail road - female rail road - gets the women out
      • freedom is subjective
        • freedom to / freedom from (Aunt Lydia)
    • Justice
      • Justine / DeLaceys / Monster
        • class
        • aesthetics
      • slavagings / particucution/ Janine
        • totalitarianism
    • child birth
      • Shelley's mother died giving birth to her - Shelley lost many of her children
      • Declining Caucasian birth rate in 1980s
    • human nature
      • loss of humanity through the pioneering and progressing
        • shelly and friends = romantics
      • a voice for the marginalised
        • Offred is not a super hero - a normal person
          • shows us about the human spirt
    • narrators
      • unreliable
        • multiple narrators - truth can be subjective
          • monster = horrible beast according to frankenstein - not the way the monster sees it
        • epistolary - makes it seem more real
          • Georgian realism
      • unreliable
        • one single narrator in tale - she is conscious of her own story and subjectivity
        • picked up upon in the historical notes
          • oral recording put together - maybe not in the right order
          • makes it seem more real
            • speculative fiction
        • reconstruction
        • fichre autobiography - oral tradition
          • slave narratives
    • epigraphs
      • subtitle - "The Modern Prometheus"- illusion to the prometheus myth
      • dedication to William Godwin - her father
        • man was born free and everywhere he is in chains
        • society corrupts man
      • paradise lost quotation
        • identifies the theme - tension between maker and made
      • dedication to Mary Webster
        • hanged as a witch in puritan time - ancestor to Atwood
          • first things puritans did was set up prison and executing facilities
          • she survived her hanging - so did Offred strive?
      • genesis reference - making clear the issues over birth
      • Johnatham Swift - idea of a satire
        • reductio abserbum
      • Sufi Proverb - rules
    • genres
      • dystopian
      • dystopian
      • speculative fiction
      • gothic
      • science fiction
      • science fiction
      • gothic - modern style
    • symbols, motifs, patterns of imagery
      • colours
        • red / blue
      • eggs
        • fertility
      • religious language
      • exploration
      • scrabble game
        • ideas of language
      • lightening
        • natural electricity
        • monster appears when there is lightening
        • "blasted" oak
      • moon
        • traditionally a feminine symbol
          • to do with cycles
        • associated with the monster
          • comes out when moon is out
      • eyes
        • symbol of their power - surveillance
        • mirror being like an eye
      • flowers
        • studies on victorian language of flowers
          • Atwood majored in Victorian literature
            • novel as tool for social commentary
            • architecture in the victorian style
        • tulips
          • metaphors for female private parts
          • red tulip
          • female sexuality
        • flowers on the wall a lot
      • Polysemy - symbols can mean different things at the same time
        • moon and fire
      • sublime
        • gothic
      • pastoral / nature
        • romanticism
      • light and dark
      • setting
        • harvard - loss of education
        • engalstat & Oxford university
      • doubles
        • frankenstein and Monster
        • Offred and Serina Joy
      • fire

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