Handmaids tale paper




Some critics say that The Handmaid’s Tale is a pure Science Fiction with little or no relevance to the actual society. Margaret Atwood wanted to show a way of how far contemporary errors lead to. Actually she took facts from today (the book was written in 1986), and imagine how could become society if people do not do anything to arrange life’s quality . “Moving , vivid and terrifying, I only hope it’s not prophetic”, as Conor Cruise O’Brien, from The Listener. This fear is almost easy to understand because of the facts we read in the book that we recognise in our contemporary world. Then the idea would be to move things, to show people that they have to change habits, way of thinking. It is important to know that Margaret Atwood was also a critic; this could let us think that The Handmaid’s Tale is a critic of today’s society.
It is also a critique of anti-abortion rhetoric and some reproductive technologists. In Gilead, women do not have the control of reproduction. “The novel has been criticised for making capitalist, contemporary America seem like a free haven. Only the dictators argue that contemporary gender politics harm women.” (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webdescrips/atwood157-des-.html) . Effectively Angela Carter, going in the same way says that “The Handmaid’s Tale is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and profoundly felt moral story” . And we can focus in American society because in the book the society named Gilead (refers to an idealistic society in the Bible) is considered to be the future American society.
We will try to understand which facts Atwood found in today’s society that are present in her great book.
But like everything we first have to check the context of Atwood 1986’ society, because she had great contemporary sources that surely influenced her way of thinking.


Fears

· The great separation

The first thing that I recognised from today’s society is the formation of groups in the society. In the 80’s we can easily see that different groups are gathering, because it is apparently easier to talk to a person that has the same origins, colour or way of living. In Gilead’s society the groups are formed with a simple base: women with women, the Marthas, Handmaids and wives ( with an exception with the econowives that has others relevance with today’s society and that will be dealt later on).
The men are always together and have a proper house, distant from women. In the 80’s we can see that the distinctions are obvious. Perhaps not in the same way, but with the same idea to separate the one who’s different. Without thinking about what he can bring to you as an experience. In fact the separation between sex, obligations and past in Gilead’s society is quite the same with the one we see in the separation between cultures, social life and colour in America in the 80’s. The gettos in America are a huge problem because of the fear of the other, of the difference.
In Gilead’s society the difference is everywhere, a wife do not friendship with a Martha, neither with the handmaids, owing to the cruelty of the circumstances. Gilead’s society is based on individualism. “ individual rights are absolutely preeminent in the Constitution and very important to every American. But when you stop there and do not add a sense of community and an obligation to others, then you’ve condemned yourself to a kind of arid existence. You cannot make it with just individual rights.”(Today’s life choices, challenges for our Times: http://tlc.goldendome.com/episodes/transcrips/1102script.html) "Individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run, it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness." ( Alexis de Tocqueville: La Democratie Americaine ) But they also try to show a light touch of humanity. This is what I see as a contemporary source of The Handmaid’s Tale. Individuality prevents all the discovery that can be found in the other, the different.
Margaret Atwood shows it very well, and we can see that as a result everybody is alone in there personal cocoon. I think that Atwood wanted to show that this great individualism that is present in America has to disappear and that