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Unformatted text preview: Professor Goshgarian Fiction Fall 2007 Final & Optional Extra-Credit Paper ENG 166 Milton Marshall Essay Question 1 In Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale, Aunt Lydia says, There is more than one kind of freedom. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from, exemplifying the process of dehumanization in the novel. Atwood illustrates how the post-apocalyptic society of Gilead systematically destroys the human soul through the deprivation of natural emotions, free will and the ability to make moral judgments. The society of Gilead reduces its citizens to subhuman followers through dehumanization. This dehumanization saps natural emotion normally felt by someone in a democratic society. Offred suffers from the deprivation of natural emotion as illustrated by the butter episode. Following dinner, she keeps a pad of butter to rub on her skin and keep in her socks while she sleeps. The butter allows Offred to feel warmth like someone touching her. Since her arrival to Gilead, she has been deprived of human touch. Offred has been so deprived of the natural emotion of warmth and compassion from another person that she has been reduced to using a pad of butter. All of the novels characters, whether they be the powerful Commander or a lowly Unwomen, are forced to act in the way of their deemed caste. The Commanders rape their handmaids in the hopes of procreation and the Unwomen work in the nuclear-hazardous colonies until their deaths. The characters have been brainwashed into feeling nothing, but their subscribed duty in spreading Gileads ideology. He was not a monster, to her. Probably he had some endearing trait: he whistled, offkey, in the shower, he had a yen for truffles, he called his dog Liebchen and made it sit up for little pieces of raw steak. How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all. What an available temptation, demonstrates how Offred has lost her sense of natural emotion. In that quote, Offred describes her Commander, who helps to execute Gileads evil and inhumane purpose, as a jolly and kind fellow who could never hurt a fly. Offred creates the Commander as a humane man to force herself to believe that he is not at all evil. Gilead has deluded Offred with its ideology to such an extent, that she must fabricate her Commander as a genuinely nice person. The characters practice what they have been instructed and not what they feel as in Americas pre-Gilead society with feminism and political liberalism. Gilead has destroyed the emotional freedom that American once offered in order to construct an idealistic society. In response to the radical feminism that infected the population before the time of Gilead, the new dystopian society plans to control the reproduction of its members....
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