The Importance Of Dystopias In A Handmaid's Tale

780 Words 4 Pages
Dystopias have become increasingly popular due to the intriguing ideas about real life concerns. Dystopias often address a problem and supplies an outcome; the outcome being a negatively viewed future. Despite the fact that these stories are not demonstrating a positive future, “it should be emphasized, however, that the mere fact that a novel or film features a grim future does not make the work dystopian. To be dystopian, a work needs to foreground the oppressive society in which it is set…” (Booker). In Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, society is experiencing a time with devastating infertility. In order to fix their issues, the Gilead deems control and reverts the current population to very archaic views on inequality and a way of …show more content…
In each of these worlds the people are being monitored by an inconspicuous government. The reader is given insufficient information in both stories about whom exactly is watching, but it is known that observers have an extensive knowledge of the public’s individual actions. Attwood illustrates this in The Handmaid’s Tale multiple times during Offred and Ofglen’s walks; while they are walking they need to give the illusion they are not talking (Atwood, 178). In reference to spies, Offred thinks “the Eyes of God run all over the earth” (Attwood, 203). Also, Offred is branded which is a constant “reminder that her body is under surveillance, that it is a tool over which an outside force has power” (Rinawmi). This scrutiny is also shown in Fahrenheit 451 when Guy’s boss is explaining the disappearance of Guy’s neighbor, Clarisse; “We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully… We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early” (Bradbury, 75). Along with both societies being monitored, there are rebellious groups. The story The Handmaid’s Tale has a group called “May Day” that desire to evolve and fight back some day. In Fahrenheit 451, these people tend to be professors, but can also be average people who love books. There is a war happening in each story: there is the side who is fighting to maintain control, and there is the side the protagonist side with in hopes of breaking free. There is …show more content…
The Handmaid’s Tale is in a closer time, whereas Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a very distant future. The fact that Fahrenheit 451 takes place so much later gives the society plenty of time for establishment, much more so than in Atwood’s story. In The Handmaid’s Tale, this new world is a new beginning for society; it occurs very abruptly. While Aunt Lydia is explaining Moira’s escape, she expresses how society is still working out the kinks of smaller issues; a risky fact of what happens while establishing initial policies (Atwood, 140). The people, in spite of constant brainwashing techniques, continue to remember their previous life in the time before; “Offred finds it increasingly difficult to conjure up the images of her lost husband and daughter as well as numerous details of her past life” (Opreanu). On the contrary, Fahrenheit 451 is so immensely developed, that the characters are unaware of their past and even that they are being controlled. In fact, their lives include a diminutive amount of freedom, as opposed to The Handmaid’s Tale, where the freedom is forcefully taken. As a matter of fact, according to an article by Rafeeg McGiveron, in Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury “shows a self-destructive society created, in large part, by people’s own desire for simplicity, comfort, and pleasure” (McGiveron). The people so desperately want a simple lifestyle

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