Power In The Handmaid's Tale

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The idea of language is not contemplated often; however, without the small, cultural aspect of life, many things would be different. In order to be in a position of power, one must conform his or her own language to be used to an advantage. A bit of identity must be lost in order to maintain power, and conformity must be forced upon others. In The Handmaid’s Tale the idea of power is a leading concept that must be considered in many different lights in order to truly understand the novel. The language one uses can be used to determine one’s identity and power goes hand-in-hand with the idea of conformity in the novel. Everyday identities are determined by language. In a literal sense, the identities of countries, cities, streets, shops, and more are determined by their names. If you hear someone speaking spanish, you can assume they may be of hispanic origin. In a more complex, or intricate sense, it could be said that the dialect of an individual is an indicator of his or her identity. Excessive usage of slang can indicate where a person is from or levels of intelligence, while a wide vocabulary can also influence a first impression.…show more content…
Power is not a pre-existing thing, but is established by practicing language in a way that is meant to influence others. In The Handmaid’s Tale, governmental power was used to destroy the rights of the public. Literature was destroyed or otherwise hidden and verbal literacy was monitored and scripted. Many words from the time before, such as “Labor Day”, were also given an entirely new meaning; this took a toll on the characters because as they were attempting to remember what it was like before the government takeover, their old memories were being blocked by their new
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