The story Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s challenging novel, The Blind Assassin, opens with the death of Laura Chase, who deliberately drives off a hundred-foot bridge just after the end of World War II. This event is reported by her sister Iris Chase Griffen, presently in her eighties, who is writing a family history embellished … Read more
Dystopian novels have an entrancing factor that allows them to captivate the American public like no other genre. The mass popularity gained by these novels can be seen dating all the way back to 1950’s with the publishing of George Orwell’s 1984, and through the present day with the publication of various dystopian novels … Read more
Imagine a society where the only use of women is to repopulate society, where a woman’s worth is essentially determined by her ovaries. This frightening scenario is a reality in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in response to the hostile political climate of the 1980s. The book portrays women … Read more
A major theme that runs throughout the novel is that of the importance of reputation and how others view us in society. This is as important, if not more so, for women than men, I believe this is a conscious decision on the behalf of Atwood. Atwood uses Alias Grace to explore why women feel … Read more
INTRODUCTION Although The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley entail different stories, the societies portrayed in these two examples of dystopic literature still lack the fundamental freedoms required for a properly functioning society to exist. Brave New World examines a futuristic society, called the World State, that revolves around … Read more
The involute and incitant amalgamation of the macrocosmic themes of revenge, tragedy, comedy and romance within Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ has inspired many modern authors, such as Margaret Atwood’s adaptation of this text, ‘Hag-seed’. Both texts explore the metaphorical and literal designates of confinement. They withal highlight the damaging consequences revenge can have on a person, … Read more
Composers overtime continue to focus their texts on humanity’s flaws to reveal the evil of man. The idea of humanity being easily manipulated and tempted to commit evil is collectively explored by both composers in their textual conversations. Margaret Atwood’s 21st-century metafictive novel Hag-Seed (2016) crafts a textual conversation with William Shakespeare’s Jacobean pastoral play … Read more
Both Jane Austen, in ‘Emma,’ and Margaret Atwood, in ‘The Blind Assassin,’ arguably present romantic and platonic relationships as having a negative effect on their female characters. In ‘Emma,’ it is a woman’s status that influences the complex circumstances that occur within and surrounding their various relationships; social position is influential upon whom they … Read more
Oryx and Crake is a novel set sometime in the near future. It is important to note that Margaret Atwood doesn’t like to call this novel science fiction as the technology being used in the story exists today, and everything that transpires could realistically happen in the real world. The novel follows the character Jimmy … Read more
Title: The Handmaid’s Tale Author: Margret Atwood Date of Publication: 1985 Genre: Dystopian Fiction Biographical Information about the Author that Pertains to the Novel Margret Atwood was born on November 18th in Ottawa Canada in 1939 and as a little girl always found pleasure in writing and reading. She made the decision to be a … Read more
Basic Information Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale from the years of 1984 to 1985, and since its publication the book has never been out of print. She was born on the 18th of November,1939 in Ottawa, Canada (Atwood, par. 4). Being the daughter of a forest entomologist, she spent her childhood in the woods … Read more
Introduction In the human experience, it is so easy to fall for simple tricks that seem like acts of kindness. One way to prove this is the mythological creature the siren. The sirens sing a beautiful song, which seems like an act of kindness, but they sing it for evil. The song traps sailors on … Read more
sh Literature and Composition Name:________________________________ MAJOR WORKS DATA SHEET Title: The Handmaid’s Tale Author: Margret Atwood Date of Publication: 1985 Genre: Dystopian Fiction Biographical Information about the Author that Pertains to the Novel Margret Atwood was born on November 18th in Ottawa Canada in 1939 and as a little girl always found pleasure in … Read more
Author, Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Blind Assassin, starts with the death of Laura Chase, who drives her car off a hundred-foot bridge after the end of World War II. Her death is reported by her sister Iris Chase Griffen, who presently, is in her eighties. She is writing a family history embellished with harsh observations on … Read more
About Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author who is best known for her works of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. She was born in 1939 in Ontario and has been writing since the age of 16. Her works explore themes of gender, power, and identity. She is the author of numerous novels and short stories, including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and Alias Grace. She has also written several volumes of poetry and a number of non-fiction works. Atwood is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential authors of the 20th century. She has received numerous awards, including the Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Award. Her works have also been adapted into films, television series, and plays.
The Handmaid’s Tale:
Set in a dystopian future, The Handmaid’s Tale follows Offred, a handmaid whose sole purpose is to bear children for a powerful family. As Offred navigates her daily life in the oppressive and authoritarian society of Gilead, she reflects on her past life, her failed marriage, and the daughter she was forced to leave behind. Through her internal monologue, Offred reveals her thoughts and feelings of her current life, and the hope she still holds for a better future.
Key topics for writing an essay on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’:
- Oppression of Women: Explore the ways in which Atwood portrays the oppression and subjugation of women in Gilead. Consider the various forms of violence, discrimination, and control which are used to keep women in a subordinate position.
- Religion and Power: Examine the ways in which religion is used to reinforce and enforce power in Gilead. Consider how the government uses religious rhetoric to legitimize its oppressive policies.
- Reproduction and Motherhood: Discuss how Atwood portrays motherhood and reproductive rights in Gilead. Consider the ways in which the Handmaids are treated as objects or vessels for childbearing, and the implications of this for women’s rights.
- Resistance and Rebellion: Analyze the different forms of resistance which the characters in the novel employ to fight against the oppressive regime in Gilead. Consider how this resistance is portrayed as both individual acts of courage and collective solidarity.
- Utopia and Dystopia: Explore the ways in which Atwood’s novel can be seen as both a utopian and dystopian narrative. Consider how the characters in the novel are both victims of and agents in the creation of the oppressive society in Gilead.
The Blind Assassin:
The Blind Assassin follows the story of Iris Chase and her sister Laura, who live in Port Ticonderoga in the 1930s. After their father’s death, their family falls into poverty and the sisters are forced to live with their oppressive and overbearing aunt. As Iris struggles to keep her family afloat, she recalls a past love story and dives into a world of fantasy and science fiction. Through Iris’s narrative, the reader is taken on a journey of love, loss, and betrayal.
Key topics for writing an essay on ‘The Blind Assassin’:
- Power Dynamics: Explore the relationships between the characters and how power is used as a tool to control.
- Gender Roles: Examine the roles of men and women in the novel and how they struggle to assert their autonomy.
- Narrative Structure: Analyze the complex structure of the book and how it contributes to the themes and messages.
- Social Critique: Consider the various social issues that Atwood addresses in the novel, such as class and power.
- Historical Context: Explore how the events of the novel are rooted in Canadian history and the legacy of colonialism.
- Metaphors and Symbols: Examine the various symbols and metaphors used throughout the book and how they are used to convey meaning.
- Themes of Isolation and Loss: Consider the ways in which characters struggle with isolation and loss, and how this contributes to the story.
- Nature and Nature-Based Imagery: Analyze how nature is used to create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.
- Theme of Memory: Consider how the characters’ pasts shape their present and how memory is used to make sense of the world.
- Theme of Survival: Explore how the characters attempt to survive in the face of difficult circumstances.
Oryx and Crake:
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Oryx and Crake follows the story of Jimmy, a man who has been left behind to fend for himself in a world where humans have been virtually wiped out. As he struggles to survive, he remembers his past and the people he once knew, including his childhood friend, Crake. Through Jimmy’s memories, the reader is taken on a journey of love, loss, and the power of friendship.
Key topics for writing an essay on ‘Oryx and Crake’:
- The Role of Technology: Explore how technology is used as a tool of power and control in the novel, and how it shapes the characters and their environment.
- Dystopian Futures: Examine the themes of dystopia and environmental destruction in the novel, and how society is impacted by these forces.
- The Nature of Human Identity: Analyze the different ways in which human identity is constructed and expressed in the novel, and how this affects the characters.
- Class and Power Dynamics: Consider how class and power dynamics are maintained and challenged in the novel, and how they shape the characters’ lives.
- Language and Communication: Explore the role of language and communication in the novel, and how it is used to create and maintain relationships.
- Nature and the Environment: Analyze how the natural world is represented in the novel, and how it is affected by the actions of the characters.
- Social Critique: Consider how Atwood’s novel critiques contemporary society, and how it offers an alternative vision of the future.
Alias Grace follows the story of Grace Marks, a young Irish immigrant accused of murdering her employer in 1843. Despite her protests of innocence, Grace is sentenced to life imprisonment and eventually sent to a mental asylum. Through Grace’s narrative, the reader is taken on a journey of her life story, her thoughts on her past, and her struggle to understand her own guilt and innocence.
Key topics for writing an essay on ‘Alias Grace’:
- Themes of identity and agency: Alias Grace explores the idea of identity and agency, and how a person’s identity is shaped by their past and present. It also looks at the complexities of determining one’s own identity and agency, as well as the power of external influences.
- Themes of guilt and innocence: Alias Grace examines the complicated relationship between guilt and innocence, and how this relationship can be shaped by societal perceptions. The novel also explores the notion of truth and lies and how one’s guilt and innocence can be shaped by the stories that are told.
- Themes of gender and power: Alias Grace examines the power dynamics between gender in 19th century Canada. It also looks at how gender roles can be used to oppress, control and manipulate individuals.
- Themes of power and control: The novel looks at the power dynamics between individuals, and how power can be used to manipulate and control people. It also examines how power can be used to oppress and limit the opportunities of people who are perceived as different.
- Themes of justice and injustice: Alias Grace looks at the idea of justice and injustice and how they are interpreted in different contexts. It also examines how the systems of justice can be manipulated and used to oppress and control people.
- Themes of memory and forgetting: The novel looks at the power of memory and forgetting, and how these forces can shape a person’s identity. It also examines how memory can be used to manipulate and control people.