12 Jan 2009

Essays on The Handmaid’s Tale

Thomas Jefferson once said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  Yet if we pay attention to our modern-day prophets and take appropriate actions, this bloodshed could be minimized or eliminated completely.  We have had many in the past century:  George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Callenbach, and, more recently, Margaret Atwood.


Just as the others attempted to warn us about the directions they perceived our society as heading, Atwood was deeply concerned with the right-wing resurrection in the United States and Great Britain during the 1980s, particularly in the realm of feminist progress which she felt was threatened by the growing strength of the puritan religious segments of our society.


The basic premise of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is similar to that of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” but with significant differences.  An organization has taken over the society by militaristic coop, declaring its agenda and philosophy essentially morally superior, including the complete elimination of all women’s rights.  The tale is told from the perspective of a woman forced into sexual slavery under this regime and, in a fashion reminiscent of Orwell, she finds herself drawn into relationships that could place her life in danger if discovered and encounters members of a resistance force.


  • Taking into consideration the differences in our society when this novel was written as compared to that of the mid-1940s when “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was written, examine what social forces led to the hauntingly similar plots.  Are there similarities between the novels which could be attributed to similar social trends in the time periods they were written?
  • Explore the social significance to dystopian novels like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”  Can fictional novels like this sway public opinion?  How is this accomplished?


Warnings of dystopian social developments frequently take a basic trend and expound upon the trend, showing what could happen, should a particular set of circumstances continue to develop unchecked.  By paying attention to novels such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” we can detect underlying concerns which should be viewed within the context of the society in which they were written.


This analysis requires a combination of human psychology, political science, and literary license.  Most students are insufficiently prepared for such and turn to talented, professional writers like those who work for our company.  With their unique perspectives and writing talents, they are well prepared to craft you an individualized literary essay on this and many other topics.  All we need is your order.


Essays on Fahrenheit 451

In colleges and universities around the world, students are often asked to read and evaluate dystopian novels.  One of these, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is, ironically, about a society where books have become unlawful to even own.  Bradbury, like most dystopian writers, was concerned about trends he saw happening in the society around him.  As the social and even legalistic expectations of political correctness have increased over the past few decades, the censorship of books has reared its ugly head, causing many writers to second guess their work and water it down to limit the number of people who might be offended by their work.


The main character of the story is a “fireman.”  Not the kind we might think of today, but one who is responsible for burning books, along with any structure in which they are found.  Guy Montag lives in a world gone mad with consumerism, censorship, and the thirst for faster cars.  As with most dystopian novels, a series of events causes Guy to begin questioning the world in which he lives, realizing there is something more, something beyond the law, something beyond his own assumptions, and he begins a fast paced quest to find the answer.


  • In the novel “Fahrenheit 451,” three fundamental forms of censorship are revealed:  social censorship in which special interest groups pressure for the censorship, self-censorship in which individual authors begin censoring themselves to avoid social censorship, and institutional censorship where censorship becomes a matter of law.  Identify examples of each within the novel and within our own society and discuss why Bradbury was so concerned about the subject.
  • Proponents of censorship claim that the public and nation must be protected from certain “dangerous” ideologies, ranging from political malcontents to concepts which religious groups claim are sacrilegious.   Opponents decry the silencing of opposition voices and new ideas are counter to what the United States represents.  In light of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, does censorship truly have a place in a free society?  Why or why not?

In an age where political correctness is not only permiating our society, but even intruding into the halls of science, philosophy, and law, can original thought or opinions which stand against conventional wisdom have a chance?  Or, as Bradbury predicted, are we doomed by our own personal agendas to be safe from anything controversial, but void of any innovative impulses?  Only time, and our decisions, will tell.


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