The Handmaid's Tale Comparative Essay

971 Words4 Pages
Both Margaret Atwood's 1985 published novel The Handmaid's Tale, and her 2003 published novel Oryx and Crake feature a dystopian setting, with Atwood herself considering them both to be speculative fiction (Hunter). The research question of how the settings of the two novels compare, and how each setting affects its respective protagonist will be investigated in this essay. Though the two novels vary quite differently in storyline, and the protagonists of each novel face different problems, it is on the basis that the novels are linked in the fact that they both have an anti-utopia setting, that a comparison between the two settings can be made. Both novels also feature a protagonist weighed down, and limited by the nature of their circumstances, and as a result of this constraint, both protagonists find themselves reminiscing about the past, and what their lives could have been. The extent to which the surroundings affect each protagonist is seen through the use of flashbacks,…show more content…
Offred describes her surroundings, comparing what had once been with that of what is the present. Offred reminiscences about the basketball games that had once been played, the changing fashion of women—how it changed from “mini-skirts” (3) to “spiky green-streaked hair” (3)—dances, and the "yearning, for something that was always about to happen" (3), that had all once been found in the gymnasium. Offred’s current longing for the past contrasts sharply with the “yearn[ing] for the future” (4) previously done by individuals who danced, and played games in the gym. This, combined with Offred's description of the guards around her, can give the expectation of a terrifying future. The Aunts inside the building who carry "electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts" (4), and the Angels who "were objects of fear" (4), add to the realism of the setting, and hint at a not-too-distant

    More about The Handmaid's Tale Comparative Essay

      Open Document