The 's Tale By Margaret Atwood And We By Yevgeny Zamyatin Essays

959 Words Dec 11th, 2015 4 Pages
Totalitarianism as a form of government gets represented in a multitude of ways in literature. Two particularly important and popular representations of totalitarian states are found in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Both are written as first person, diary style accounts. The information on how the totalitarian systems function is limited due to the constraints on information available to the narrators and the limits of what they share. These are two unique forms of totalitarianism, written in very different social and political landscapes. Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote We around 1920-1921 only a few years after the Russian Revolution, just as the Communist totalitarian state was coming into being. We was initially banned when Zamyatin attempted to publish it in the newly formed Soviet Russia, one of the major totalitarian states of the twentieth century. Margaret Atwood’s novel was published in 1984, during the Reagan and Thatcher administrations, and shortly after the Iranian Revolution in which Ayatollah Khomeini became supreme leader of Iran. Globally, conservatism had come to power after the more leftist decades of the 1960s and 70s and the Cold War was restrengthened. Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cambodia, and the lingering memories of Nazi Germany, and Mussolini’s Italy were all totalitarian states that Atwood could draw upon to form her own style of totalitarianism. The context of publication plays a large role in the development of these…

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