The Handmaid's Tale Context

  • Created by: Dene3
  • Created on: 28-05-19 08:33
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  • 'THE HANDMAID'S TALE': CONTEXT
    • Waves of feminism
      • Betty Friedan (1963) said that the housewife constant felt boredom and a lack of fulfilment. Women who 'had it all' were deadened by domesticity.
        • SERENA JOY?
      • The National Organisation for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 and gained a lot of support in the 2nd year.
        • The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that ensured the equality of rights regardless of sex caused support to evaporate.
          • GILEAD? Atwood warns of the effects of not having the ERA.
      • The Redstockings in 1969 published 'The ***** Manifesto' that addressed issues such as sexism, the politics of housework, abortion and ****. Domestic violence was also discussed
        • AUNT LYDIA IS A SUBVERSION OF THIS?
      • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1965) was backed and women gained access to jobs everywhere
        • OFFRED'S PREVIOUS LIFE vs GILEADEAN LIFE
    • 1980s political movements
      • The Reagan Era
        • "Government is the problem"
          • REBELLION AGAINST GILEAD?
        • "Peace is only attainable through military strength"
          • REFLECTED THROUGH THE USE OF GUARDS AND VIOLENCE
      • Thatcherism
        • Monetarism- controlling money with high interest rates
          • Privatisation of state-owned industries
            • CALLS FOR INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM WHICH IS NOT IN GILEAD
        • Victorian values where conventional marriage and nuclear families were important
          • SOME GILEADEAN IDEAS
    • Religious fundamentalism/ conservative religious values
      • American New Right
        • A return to 'traditional values'- 'submission is God's design for women'
          • SERENA JOY'S IDEAS IN THE PAST/ GILEAD AS A THEOCRACY
      • Morin Ollier
        • "the greatest lie of the century is the claim that women are unfairly treated in a position of inferiority in the United States"
          • WOMEN OPPRE**ING WOMEN/ AUNT LYDIA
      • "Like many theocratic societies, Gilead's scriptural emphasis is more about control than faith"
        • THE RED CENTRE/ INDOCTRINATION
    • Attitudes to sexuality
      • The core 'radical' idea was that just like men, women enjoyed sex and had sexual needs
        • GILEAD COMPLETELY DISREGARDS THIS?
      • Hugh Hefner's creation of '*******' and Helen Gurley's 'Sex and the SIngle GIrl' empowered being single, women's open sexualitya dn destroyed the 'old maid' concept
        • GILEAD DISCARDED OF ALL *********** AND DOES NOT SEE SEX AS A MEANS OF PLEASURE
        • OFFRED CONTRADICTS THIS AS SHE ALWAYS NEEDS A MAN
      • Madonna-Whore complex
        • Developed by SIgmund Freud, it is the misogynistic view that "where such men love they have no desire (Madonna) and where they desire they cannot love (whore)"
          • SERENA JOY AS MADONNA AND OFFRED AS WHORE
    • Totalitarian regimes
      • Nazi Germany
        • The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany- people were sent to concentration camps when they spread Anti-Nazi ideas/ were Jewish or gay
          • EYES IN GILEAD
        • Lebensborn were effectively brothels where women were paired with suitable ** soldiers/Aryan men for a quick pregnancy
          • THE ROLE OF THE HANDMAIDS, HIERARCHY IN GILEAD AND WOMEN'S ROLES
      • Cold War
        • The idea of developed technology and the use of biological and chemical warfare
          • THE COLONIES AND A FEAR OF GOING THERE
      • Russia
        • Individual talents were none but frowned upon unless it had a benefit for the state
          • GILEAD RECONSTRUCTS IDENTITY
        • Often a charismatic dictator provides a sense of security and guidance and justifies their actions no matter how twisted they may be
          • AUNT LYDIA QUOTING THE BIBLE
    • Puritanism
      • Encouraged a personal rship with God and salvation was entirely up to him where he chose to 'save' a few
        • GILEAD AS A THEOCRACY
      • Censorious beliefs about self-indulgence and sex
        • BANNING OF CIGARETTES FOR HANDMAIDS
    • Marx
      • 'From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs'
        • Refers to the distribution of goods and free access
          • HANDMAIDS ARE GIVEN THE BEST FOOD AS THEY 'NEED' IT
      • 'Religion is the opiate of the masses'
        • Paraphrased and has many interpretations: religion does not remove suffering but numbs the pain
          • "BLE**ED BE THE MEEK" IS OMITTED TO SUIT THE HANDMAIDS AND THEIR COMPLIANCE
    • Language and Gender
      • The Laugh Of Medusa (1976), Helene Cixous
        • Encourages women to reclaim their own bodies and suggests that male writing presents a possession of women and so they are 'nobody'
          • "ONLY I KNOW THE FOOTING" OFFRED CLAIMS HER BODY AND THE PREVIOUS OFFRED LEFT HER MARK THROUGH THE ENGRAVING
      • Foucault
        • Political belief systems are embedded in language and can either allow for self-expression or repress it
          • MANIPULATION OF LANGUAGE AND SCRABBLE
    • Dystopia
      • 'Reductio ad absurdum'
        • Means 'reduction to the absurd'
          • COULD REFER TO THE HANDMAIDS AS **** IS LEGALISED
      • 'A Modest Proposal'
        • suggest letting the Irish eat children
          • EXTREME CRUELTY AS FACED BY PUNISHMENT IN GILEAD

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