Mutability of identity in The Road and The Handmaids Tale Essay Sample

“Dystopian literature invites the reader to reflect upon the mutableness of individuality. ” By comparing The Handmaid’s Tale and The Road. discourse how far. and in what ways the two novels support or refute this claim? Within dystopian literature. individuality is something that can be seen as an individual’s most nucleus and cherished component. Exposed against a scarceness of freedom in self-expression. we can get down to to the full appreciate and understand the importance in the function of individuality every bit good as its hardiness. The function of individuality and its use is frequently explored within dystopian literature to represent failings in human psychological science every bit good as to destruct false images of strength and high quality that we apply to ourselves. In both The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale representations of strength in individuality become more pessimistic as the novel progresses.

Like many other dystopian texts such as A Clockwork Orange. individuality is presented to us ab initio as something indestructible. It is the contrast of this against the obvious use of individuality further on into the book that highlights the idealization of our personalities as single and digesting. Like The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale. the fresh expressions at society’s consequence on individuality and suggests that individuality must be manipulated in some signifier in order for a society to be peaceable and effectual. The Road and Lord of the Flies portion similar representation of how we are controlled by our society. They suggest we have evolved to move in a socially desirable mode and that without control we loose all sense of empathy or moral consciousness.

Within The Road and Handmaid’s Tale nevertheless there are some positive illustrations which suggest that although individuality is decidedly able to be manipulated to a certain extent. look and communicating could both be natural facets able to finally defy full control. An illustration of this is the relationship between Offered and Nick. and the male childs desire to assist Ely or the lost kid that he thinks he sees. Changeless geographic expedition throughout literature of a deficiency of control over our individuality highlights a common insecurity we seem to hold about it. It besides displays the function of individuality as a comfort and support to us. which could explicate why in many instances it is to a great extent obsessed over. guarded. and manipulated. Without it. you become much more easy controlled. Mental struggle is frequently represented throughout literature as a whole but particularly dystopian. An illustration of this in The Handmaid’s Tale is the sense of misgiving installed within the reader due to the undependability of Offred as a storyteller “it didn’t happen that manner either.

I’m. non certain how it happened ; non precisely. All I can trust for is a Reconstruction: the manner love feels is ever merely approximative. ” Although at first remarkably looking to stand for the supporter negatively. the consequence of this narrative manner really allows us to construe the character in a more complex and hence humanised province. In the Rhetoric of Fiction 1961 Wayne C. Booth surveies the consequence of the storyteller “In life we ne’er know anyone by ourselves by exhaustively dependable internal marks. and most of us achieve an all excessively partial position even of ourselves. It is in a manner strange. so. that in literature from the really get downing we have been told motivations straight and magisterially without being forced to trust on those rickety illations about other work forces. which we can non avoid in our ain lives. Through direct auctorial invasions. the writer gives us the “kind of information ne’er obtained about existent people” .

But this is “information that we must accept without inquiry if we are to hold on the narrative that is to follow” . 1 The world of our individuality as worlds is that we are dishonorable and undependable to some grade in order to appeal as conversationists. As a fresh written in the first individual. it does non idealize the human head as the waies of our ideas do struggle with one another and our histories of world frequently do become manipulated by our imaginativeness. “The Handmaid is said to hold made the recording after she escaped from her imprisonment – the undependability of the storyteller is therefore farther reinforced. If the whole narrative is merely a memory. many of the “facts” are once more adjusted to suit the narrator’s ex-post position. The Handmaid even offers three versions of the narrative of her and Nick holding sex for the first clip – here. Atwood once more addresses the stereotyped outlooks of romantic love and depicts three possible worlds which play on Offred’s desirous thinking”

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Offred’s undependability as storyteller is furthered due to the that the fact that the tapes have been ordered by person else. but besides because she is stating the narrative after it has happed. Hindsight certainly must hold shaped her sentiments in some signifier. Equally good as researching natural struggle within the human head. as the novel progresses it becomes clearer that Offred does non ever reflect the typical facets of what is deemed as a normal outlook. As Offred’s perceptual experiences of world seem to unify more and more with her imaginativeness we are made cognizant that stray under the government of Gilead. saneness is at least something Offred has to now contend for. “Sanity is a valuable ownership ; I save it. so I will hold plenty when the clip comes. “

Insanity has ever had in topographic point amongst the control of totalitarian governments ‘following the autumn of the Soviet Union. it was frequently reported that some resistance militants and journalists were detained in Russian psychiatric establishments to intimidate and insulate them from society. In modern Russia. human rights militants besides face the menace of psychiatric diagnosing as a agency of political repression. ’ Offred’s consciousness of her saneness shows she is still. despite everything. trying to defy full control. In The Road there is a similar geographic expedition of struggle within in the head. An illustration of this is good dreams experienced by the male parent. which he interprets as negative marks that he is fring his clasp on world as decease seems to go more inevitable. “He said the right dreams for a adult male in hazard were dreams of hazard and all else was the call of dreaminess and of decease. “

Despite the fact that due to his environment he is being forced to follow a certain outlook and behavior in order to last. the male parent has no control over an unconscious province of himself that remains uncorrupt by his state of affairs. Sigmund Freud revolutionized the manner in which dreams were interpreted in the late nineteenth century believing that all actions were motivated by the unconscious head. Freud stated that impulses and desires repressed by modern society were released during slumber and besides believed that the witting head acted as a guard so that during kip the subconscious became freed from the leashs of society. An alternate reading of dreams within The Road is that likewise to the manner in which dreams might let go of inherent aptitudes repressed by society. in The Road where society doesn’t exist. dreams could stand for societal behaviors that are suppressed in this instance by human inherent aptitude. “Color in the universe – except for fire and blood – exists chiefly in memory or dream. “

This quotation mark suggests that felicity merely exists within the subconscious heads of the subsisters on the route. “The incinerate cadavers shrunk to the size of a kid and propped on the au naturel springs of the seats. Ten 1000 dreams ensepulchred within their crozzled Black Marias. ” Set at opposite terminals of an extreme. in a universe dominated by order and a universe wholly missing in it. both novel’s characters are restricted from communicating which may impact their ability to tie in themselves with others. In The Handmaid’s Tale. forbidden to talk to each other. most people under the government of Gilead are merely identified by labels which are forced upon them. This is similar to The Road in the sense that subsisters are every bit every bit forced non to interact due to an premise in the involvement of endurance that no 1 is safe. In both novels. characters portion a common individuality of untrustiness.

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This is apparent in the agnosticism displayed towards Ely. the old adult male. by the male parent and by the fact that the old adult male is unwilling to convey his existent name despite the Acts of the Apostless of kindness towards him. “I couldn’t trust you with it. To make something with it. I don’t want anybody speaking about me. To state where I was or what I said when I was there” “The man’s leery interchange with him besides shows how indispensable trust is to human communicating. God is basic to human kindness and indispensable to human self-respect. “6 This quotation mark discusses that in contrast to the manner in which society suppresses communicating in The Road. without it worlds are about incapacitated in their interaction. In The Road it is about as if the characters have lost all thought of kindness and morality because these things merely exist within the kingdom of society.

The dependance of faith in these relationships farther suggests control as faith is frequently an of import factor on which society is built and maintained. Now that the male parent and Ely are doubting of God. at that place seems to them no account for kindness and therefore they are untrusty of it. After 911. faith in American society changed significantly particularly for immature people. The belief and comfort in God and his power to protect has suffered as a state easy realised that they as worlds might non be important at all. The same power that has lead worlds to a sense of security is one that can slay and even destruct a state wholly. “We had this sense of peculiarity and impregnability that 911 shattered. “

Communication is about wholly regulated by faith in The Handmaid’s Tale “blessed be the fruit” . tenseness between Offered and Rita despite the similarity in their state of affairs illustrates the consequence and interrupt down of interaction between worlds in a dystopian society. “Her face might be kindly if she would smile. But the frown isn’t personal: it’s the ruddy frock she disapproved of. and what it stands for. She thinks it may be catching. like a disease or any signifier of bad fortune. ” Unemployment in The Islamic Republic of Iran grew significantly throughout the eightiess due to the states wavering economic system in the face of the ongoing boundary line war with Iraq and a bead in world-wide oil monetary values. Many Iranians immigrated to the United States merely prior to. or as the consequence of a revolution in 1979. Prior to a successful feminist motion in the mid 1960’s and late 70’s. 1980s America proved to be a cheerless period for the feminist motion.

The tribunals began to float more towards the right wing in term of adult females rights issues and an aging coevals of chiefly white. upper category militant failed frequently to turn to issues set uping adult females of different cultural background. low income adult females and adult females who didn’t live in the US. 8 For some women’s rightist though the 1980s were of import in the sense that they could at least acknowledge the intervention of adult females in societies other than America. Atwood is clearly influenced by the thought of adult females covering themselves through spiritual rules. the hijab or the burqa in Islam. the wont of the nun in Christianity. or even the head covering of the bride. Equally good as this before composing The Handmaid’s Tale she had spent clip in Norfolk life in a parsonage that had one time been a nunnery in the fourteenth century. The parsonage was said to be haunted by nuns. and it is clear where some of her thoughts about privacy and individuality life on under it may hold come from.

The wings of the servants are said to be safeguard against enticement. but the servants are seldom exposed to work forces. They act more to supress individuality and acknowledgment between the servants doing them more governable. “They were demeaned of any powers and luxuries. That was precisely what the white wings were designed for. Seeing was a privilege that servants were non to hold. ” Alternatively the wings of the servants are a farther extension of their powerless place symbolizing the ignorance of the state of affairs they were in. If cognition is power. so by curtailing the handmaid’s position both physically and metaphorically of the universe in which they lived. they could ne’er turn to get the better of it. While it appears at first. the masks worn in The Road protect against polluted and insecure air. they are clearly non worn at all times and there doesn’t seem to be tremendous concern about this.

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They are once more merely farther safeguards against guarded individuality. and demo the extent at which individuality has become controlled by the state of affairs. As both fresh go on the characters within them conform more to people they seem to hold become and question their individuality in the past highlighting difference between so and now. The male child begins to inquire his male parent more often whether they are the good cats or the bad cats. This shows at that place seems to hold become less to distinguish them. When he encounters the man-eaters at the house the small male child seems more shaken by the chance that he and his male parent might be capable of the same thing than traumatized by what he has seen. “We wouldn’t eat anybody would we? ” “No of class non. ” The male child particularly fights non to conform to the manner the dystonia is impacting humanity.

The thought of “Carrying the fire” is used by the male parent and the male child to farther divide them from other subsisters on the route which pose menace to them. it gives purpose to their journey and in a similar manner to faith which they no longer hold amenitiess the male child as something to believe in. “Conversation between male parent and boy exemplifies both the son’s fear that they are no better than the abominations of society they run from and besides that fire has become their symbol of religion that sees them through a hard clip. By cleaving to the imagination of the fire. the boy believes that he would non yield to the atrocious act of cannibalism that seems so acceptable to others. “9 In The Handmaids Tale Offred seems to go more degage and doubting of her old ego. when they come across the Nipponese tourers she is about taken aback by her on rapid alteration of attitude towards freedom of look and individuality. “ We are fascinated but besides repelled.

They seem undressed. It has taken so small clip to alter our heads. about things like this. Then I think I used to dress like that” . Both The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale represent indicants that our individuality is adapted to the environment that we live in consciously and subconsciously. However in both novels there are besides clear illustrations proposing otherwise. Although there is no uncertainty Offred’s individuality was changed by her state of affairs. her changeless longing for company. flashbacks – relationship with Nick and engagement with Mayday would non hold been possible if she had wholly conformed to her individuality as a servant.

If Offred was in fact saved it would be these things that allowed her to be. Similarly in The Road. the male child put himself at hazard and was ever berated for his kindness and interaction towards other people. Despite this in the terminal it is his willingness to interact with the household that leads him to safety. However. we do non cognize what truly happened to Offred and whether the stoping truly was positive. Equally good as this. the male child still faced danger even when with the household – perchance more. The deliberate ambiguities in the terminations of the novels suggest that individuality and the extent of its mutableness will ever stay problematic.