English Literature The Handmaid's Tale Thesis

Length: 6 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Literature Type: Thesis Paper: #59784431 Related Topics: Statutory Rape, Guantanamo Bay, English, Business English
Excerpt from Thesis :

Freibert; "The custom of using the handmaid for progeny permeated Israelite history and custom" (Domville, 2006). Legal documents that date back to the 15th Century BC support biblical records of that practice, Domville continues.

In another scholarly article in the University of Toronto Quarterly (Neuman, 2006), the writer explains that Atwood, and outspoken feminist from Canada, insisted after publishing the book that she, Atwood, "invented nothing" in her descriptions of the fascist state of Gilead. "There is nothing in the book that hasn't already happened...All the things described in the book, people have already done to one another" (Neuman, 2006).

But Neuman is quick to point out that not every critic buys into Atwood's believe that this dystopian is plausible. Critic Dean Flower wrote that Atwood's premises in the Handmaid's Tale is "...so lacking in plausibility or inevitability as to be embarrassing" (Neuman, 2006).

But back to the original thesis: it is the contention of this paper that much of what Atwood has portrayed could, in some way, come to pass (or has already happened). Indeed, power could be grabbed by unorthodox and unscrupulous means. And the U.S. Constitution could indeed be changed, altered in some way, perverted in order to justify the bold acts of a power-hungry president. This contention in fact can be backed up with the real world executive excesses of the current leadership in the White House. Indeed, and this is not about a violent coup de teat but rather the heavy-handed abuse of executive power, which, if allowed to continue unchecked, could change the way Americans live.

An editorial in the New York Times asserts, "Over and over again...given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House has shrugged off the legal constraints" (www.nytimes.com,2006). One example is the Guantanamo Bay Prison, where hundreds of prisoners have been kept locked up in horrible conditions without any charges being filed against them (which is a violation of habeas corpus, one of the Constitution's guarantees)....


When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that Geneva Conventions did apply (fair treatment for prisoners of war), the Bush Administration seemed willing to address the unconscionable evil of holding men without charging them with a crime, but soon backed off of the promise to close Guantanamo Bay.

Another example of executive arrogance that constitutes a violation of federal law and the Constitution was when Bush "...secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans...to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying" (Risen, et al., 2005). Moreover, the executive branch of government set up secret torture prisons outside the boundaries of the U.S. And although Bush later signed a Congressionally mandated "statutory ban on torture" his spokesperson claimed he "reserved the right to disregard" the law he signed, which he did. So much for those who insist the U.S. Constitution could never be violated or pushed into the background so that a power-hungry leader could conduct business in an ad hoc, quasi-legal way.

While these referenced instances of apparent Constitutional violations - and other human rights violations brought forward - do not equal in any way the brutally enforced totalitarianism in the Atwood novel, an honest narrative attempt has been made to back up the assertions made in the thesis of this paper.

Works Cited

Associated Press. "Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery." Retrieved from Newsmax.com, http://archive.newsmax.com.2001.

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986.

Daniel, Stacy. "New fault discovered near Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant." KSBY News.

Retrieved December 2, 2008, at http://www.ksby.com.2008.

Domville, Eric. "The Handmaid's Detail: Notes on the Novel and Opera." University of Toronto Quarterly 75.3 (2006): 869-882.

Neuman, Shirley. "Just a Backlash: Margaret Atwood, Feminism, and the Handmaid's Tale."

University of Toronto Quarterly 75.3 (2006): 857-868.

Risen, James, & Lichtblau, Eric. "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts." The New

York Times 16 Dec. 2005: Retrieved December 2, 2008, at http://www.nytimes.com.

Thomas, Pierre, Date, Jack, & Cook, Theresa. "Modern Day Slavery: Lucrative…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Associated Press. "Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery." Retrieved from Newsmax.com, http://archive.newsmax.com.2001.

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986.

Daniel, Stacy. "New fault discovered near Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant." KSBY News.

Retrieved December 2, 2008, at http://www.ksby.com.2008.

Cite this Document:

"English Literature The Handmaid's Tale" (2008, December 04) Retrieved July 31, 2021, from

"English Literature The Handmaid's Tale" 04 December 2008. Web.31 July. 2021. <

"English Literature The Handmaid's Tale", 04 December 2008, Accessed.31 July. 2021,

Related Documents
Margaret Atwood's Theory of Natural
Words: 8410 Length: 25 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 32141388

As Canada has become less wild, many of these obstacles have been recognized by writers to exist internally, as Atwood says: "no longer obstacles to physical survival but obstacles to what we may call spiritual survival, to life as anything more than a minimally human being." Grim survival is that sort of survival which overcomes a specific threat which destroys everything else about one, such as a hurricane or plane

Acculturative Stress and Psychological Wellbeing of African Missionary...
Words: 6281 Length: 20 Pages Topic: Anthropology Paper #: 41172358

acculturative stress of African Catholic Missionary Nuns (ACMN) serving in the United States. This chapter is divided into five parts. The first part explains the meaning of acculturation and adaptation experiences specific to missionaries. This part emphasizes (1) different perspectives from social and behavioral scientists examining the phenomenon of acculturation (2) different theoretical models describing the stages of acculturation (3) dissimilarities between immigrants and missionary immigrants and what makes

Clown in William Shakespeare's the Tragedy of
Words: 1625 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 48396083

Clown in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy Of Othello: Comic relief and symbolism The Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare is the author of some of the most famous tragedies every written. The Tragedy of Othello is one of the rawest of all of his works, given that it is a romantic drama that hinges upon one of the most primal emotions of all human beings -- the sensation of jealousy. The jealousy of Iago

Kubrick the 'Droogian' Dystopian Vision
Words: 913 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 6951401

Obviously, as a way of retaliating against Burgess' alleged Socialist state, Alex and his "droogs" have adopted a very old method which has been proven highly effective in relation to obtaining and dispensing power and influence, namely, a social phalanx known as a gang, a somewhat "loosely organized group of individuals who collaborate together for anti-social reasons" (Nawojczyk, 1997, Internet). In this context, Alex occupies the position of gang leader while

George Orwell 1984
Words: 454 Length: 1 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 2369702

Accuracy of George Orwell's Predictions George Orwell chose a specific date, 1984, for the title of his novel predicting the evolution of society by that date. However we are now 18 years past that date and his predictions have not come true. How could Orwell have been so wrong? Or was he only wrong about the exact timing and still correct about his general predictions? To understand Orwell's view of