English Literature- The Handmaid's Tale

When was it published?
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What type of writer is Atwood?
A feminist writer
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When did she write THT?
After the elections of Ronald Regan in US and Thatcher in GB
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When was the 'sexual revolution'?
60s/70s- free love, contraception introduced, more rights
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What heightened feminist's fears?
The growing power of 'religious rights' - the gains women had made previously would be reversed
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What does Atwood explore?
The consequences of a reversal of women's rights
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What other events does Atwood explore?
The worry of Nuclear power, declining birth rates and pollution
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Who is Phyllis Schafly?
Someone dedicated to traditional gender roles
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What did she lead in the 70s?
The battle to oppose the equal rights amendment
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When was the CR in China?
1966-69 (anarchy phase)
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How does this link to THT?
Atwood based all of her events on true global stories
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When was Freud around?
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What was one of his key aspects?
The subconscious
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What are the three structures of the mind that he came up with?
ID, ego and superego
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What did he think underpinned all of our actions?
Sexual desires (ID)
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What is repetition compulsion?
When you put yourself in the same event, when you repeat a traumatic event
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What is 're-living'?
It can take the form of dreams where memories and feelings are prominent
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How does this link to Offred?
THT- sex is presented in a grim way where there is a clear relationship between sex and death
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How does this link to Tess?
Sex is described as aesthetically pleasing
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What is the performative gender theory?
Is to construct an identity
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What does 'Simon De Beauvoir say'?
'One is not born, but rather becomes a woman'
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What does this suggest?
That someone becomes a gender
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When was 'King James' Bible' published?
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What does God decide?
Whether you have children/ punishing you for it
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What is the purpose of women?
To reproduce
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Who is Jacob similar to?
The commander
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What are the themes in THT?
Gender roles, power, identity, democracy, freedom, sexuality, morality, trauma, extremism, death and memory
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How does Atwood present gender roles?
Presents rigid gender roles and the impact it has psychologically on the individual
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How does Atwood present sexuality?
Critical of how sexuality is politizised by the state
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What examples could you use to support the idea of sexuality?
Iran, reproductive rights, Dystopian fantasy
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What is 'The Little Red Cap'?
Where men are villainous and females are the opposite- written after THT
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What is 'Diving into the Wreck'?
Females aren't recorded, so feminism views haven't been recorded
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When was Adrienne Rich around?
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Who is she?
A feminist writer, had 3 sons before the age of 30
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What was she marginialised as?
A woman, lesbian and a Jew
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When was Virginia Woolf around?
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What was she a member of? Who are they?
The Bloomsbury group- upperclass intellectuals
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What was she interested in?
bisexuality and the possibility of fusing both male and female identity
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What did she imply about gender?
That people can change gender
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When was Sylvia Plath around?
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What did she present women as?
A 'living entity'- believes in femininity and masculinity
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When was Jeanette Winterson around?
1959-present day
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What do her novels explore?
Gender roles and sexuality
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What is her book called that is about a girl coming out as lesbian?
Oranges are not the only fruit
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What does S.Weir.Mitchell say about identity?
Women are detestable because they are women
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What does Charlotte Perkins Gilman challenge?
The perception of identity
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What does Anne Sexton say about female expression?
That it is limited
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What is the 'humanity' formula?
That we treat things and people as a mere means to our ends
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How does Offred use language as a narrator?
Biblical, hypothesis, uncertain, coded, violent, cowardly, sexual, multi-vocal (poylphonic)
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Who are the historical notes spoken by?
Professor Piexto- they refer to real life events in the 1970s
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What does Piexto refer to the use of handmaid's as?
A form of simultaneous polygamy
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What is political satire?
Been used as a method of aiding political arguments where such arguments are expressively forbidden
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What is THT?
A dystopian novel
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Who are the key characters?
Offred, The Commander, Serena Joy, Nick,Moira, Aunt Lydia, Oflgen, Cora, Janine, Luke, Her mum, aunt Elizabeth, Rita and Professor Piexo
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What does Atwood draw attention to?
Social trends, unpleasant events in contemporary society, human beings behave to one another, rapid changes in brutality from a civilized society
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What does the Massacre of Srelovenica of Bossian Muslims by Serbs show?
How easily our ways of life could be transformed
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What is the relevance of Hitler and the Nazis?
Jewish people would have to wear the 'star', just a hanged Jew in Chapter 3
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How does THT echo Islamic groups annd regimes?
The Taliban's treatment of women: refusal of education, women must be covered and the imposition of brutal sentences
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Card 2


What type of writer is Atwood?


A feminist writer

Card 3


When did she write THT?


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Card 4


When was the 'sexual revolution'?


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Card 5


What heightened feminist's fears?


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