The Handmaid's Tale Essay | Language as Power in "The Handmaids Tale"

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Language as Power in "The Handmaids Tale"

Summary: Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaids Tale" is like many other dystopian novels in that government dictatorships are created in part by creating fear in the populace and use language as a tool of control. As a cautionary novel, Atwood warns of the genuine consequences when language is exploited. Language is incredibly powerful for getting people to disregard reality.
The Handmaids Tale illustrates that dictatorship can be established by creating a state of fear once language controls are instituted. As a tradition to dystopian novels, Atwood has drawn much attention to the meaning of words and the significance of names, as well as the prohibition for women to read or write, in order to portray Gilead as a successful totalitarian state. Atwood is trying to make the point that in a dystopian world, language can be the power.

The meaning of names is a central focus of the novel, because names define people. Their worth and function are summarized by the names. To some extent, the names also discourage originality. This occurred especially to the Handmaids whose names all begin with the prefix "Of", plus their commanders names, such as Offred, Ofglen, and Ofwarren. This act taken by the Gilead state totally...

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This section contains 1,059 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Student Essay on Language as Power in "The Handmaids Tale"
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