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dystopia-1 - Prem 1 Smrithi Prem World Literature II(2 Ms...

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Prem 1 Smrithi Prem World Literature II (2) Ms. Donna Villanova 5 September 2007 Food; The Power Source in a Dystopia Dystopian society, the type of society portrayed in both George Orwell’s 1984 and in Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale , portrays hellish societies with shocking laws and rigid restrictions. In a dystopia, people are often oppressed and freedom and independence are suppressed. In both books, the people living in their societies are deprived of the freedom of choice, a common element in dystopian literature. Inhabitants of both dystopias cannot even chose what they want to eat, a seemingly petty choice. However, food is not such a petty matter in either novel. Both in 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale , food and mealtimes are associated to power. For example, in Gilead, the society represented in The Handmaid’s Tale , handmaids have their diet controlled by the Regime that is in control. By controlling the handmaids’ diets, the Gilead regime has direct control over the handmaids’ bodies. Similarly, in 1984 , there is always a ration or shortage of food (a clever ploy to sustain the Ingsoc rule in Oceania), and Winston and the Lower Party members are found eating a gruel-like substance for lunch. Winston’s diet leaves him looking sick and weak, with a varicose ulcer on his ankles. Additionally, in both novels it is hinted that the food and drink that the inhabitants are given are possibly drugged, in order to control behavior, maintain uniformity, and keep rebellion at bay. In both novels, food is used as a mean to convey that the protagonist of the story is struggling and feeling trapped due to the oppressive regime portrayed in the novels. Additionally, meal
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Prem 2 times are used to spread the propaganda, societal laws, and the lies present in both society. Not only that, food is used in both novels as a method of rebellion, or a symbolism for rebellion, by the protagonist due to the fact that the character feels the society they live in is a grave error. In conclusion, elements such as the lack of freedom and choice, a controlling regime that idolizes a concept or a person, and a struggling protagonist as expressed through food and meals makes both novels accurate representations of dystopian literature. In both 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale , the control the respective governments in the society have on the diet of the protagonists, act as a representation of the oppression the protagonists go through and the suffocation and dull uniformity they feel in their society. For example, in The Handmaid’s Tale , Offred herself associates food with freedom. In one of her flashbacks to the past, she reminisces of being able to eat what she likes. Offred is often reluctant to eat the food that she is provided, which suggests that she subconsciously realizes that she is, essentially, being controlled by what she eats. Her rejection of the food is also
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