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Representation of Atwood's Contextual Influence in Setting ChoicesWithin The Handmaids Tale, Gilead itself represents a totalitarianism government created through Atwood's exaggeration of conservative politics, Christian conservative views and WWII experiences. The broader setting is very hostile and controlled as shown in the below quote: "The Wall [...] must once have been plain but handsome. Now the gates had sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on metal posts above it, and barbed wire along the bottom and broken glass set in concrete along the top." Other important settings include Offred's bedroom which due to the very emotionless descriptions is shown to be a cold, inhuman environment: "A chair, a table, a lamp. ""On the wall above the chair, a picture, framed but with no glass: a print of flowers, blue irises, watercolour" And Offred's general house, whose description emphasises the need for reproduction: "There’s a grandfather clock in the hallway, which doles out time, and then the door to the motherly sitting room, with its fleshtones and hints."

Representation of McTeigue's Contextual Influence in Setting ChoicesThe London depicted in V for Vendetta incorporates the use of curfews seen in 1984, the heavy military/enforcement presence inspired by conservative politics and existing British landmarks to create an overwhelming totalitarianism atmosphere.The general streets are dark, and hostile due to their lack of happy people. Buildings like the British Government and the Old Bailey are representative of corruption and finally it's only within the secrets of one's own home that they can express themselves.Each of the settings used act to further deepen the expression of an oppressive future alongside portraying further elements of the past and other texts.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was adapted into a Hulu TV series in       2017 by Dorothy Fortenberry.

Alan Moore's V for Vendetta was adapted from a graphic novel to film in 2005 by James McTeigue.

DELVING DEEPER-Speculative Fiction

For a podcast by"Battling Wits"on The Perceived Importance of Speculative Fiction click:

What is Speculative Fiction?Speculative Fiction is a broad literary category which encompasses all genres and texts speculating on what the future could be. E.g. apocalyptic, science-fiction and dystopia. texts Well-known examples include: The Handmaid's Tale, V for Vendetta, 1984, The Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451.

Speculative Themes Featured inV for Vendetta Totalitarian government - The strict curfews, major military/secret police presence and the use of media as a manipulation tool all act in combination to portray a relentiless, suppressive government regime. The values of this government - including the oppression of minority groups - reflect those seen during Maraget Thatcher's military campaign. Notably, during the adaption to film, the focus swung from facism to a representation of American politics, therefore changing the governments depiction to better suit the adaptions context.Anarchy and freedom - V is an anarchist, believing that the British government is corrupt because of its oppression of freedom. This rejection of the government's opinions connects to Moore's own identification as an anarchist, and is commonly displayed in texts as protagonists fight against their oppressive governments/authorities.Power of symbols - Symbols are used frequently throughout this text to convey specific ideas. The letter V represents anarchy and revenge, blowing up the Old Bailey/Lady Justice/British Parliament is symbolic of overthrowing corruption, the roses used shows V's belief he is helping create a more beautiful world and finally, V's Guy Fawkes mask to show he represents an idea rather then a person. Altogether this use of symbols demonstrates the powerful the unity and ideas demonstrating Moore's own wish to stand against the grain of society.Impacts of bigotry - Under Norsefire's regime, the privileged, straight, white male is given the greatest power, with people of different political, cultural, sexual, gender, racial or religious backgrounds forced into submission or concentration camps. This demonstration of selective privileges isn't a representation of just Moore's or McTeigue's context however, because these power imbalance and lack of equality is characteristic of nearly all human societies. This text simply reinforces this ongoing issue, tying it into modern contextual influences to add relevance and personal connection.

Speculative Themes Featured inThe Handmaid's TaleAbuse of government power - The government forces their people into a set hierarchical society, which gives power to the wealthy males while valuing women solely for their reproductive capacities. All members of society are under constant surveillance from both the secret police (The Eyes) and true patriots. This controlling environment reflects the 20th century totalitarian dictatorships Atwood was exposed to, while highlighting Christian conservative views, and conservative politic movements.Theocracy and Religion - The use of the Old Testament as a basis for the creation of Gilead, the discrimination of women and an overall justification for the situation within The Handmaid's Tale isn't the only use of religion within the text. Biblical allusion is used frequently in the naming of characters, and places, however in each of these cases the quotes and references have generally been twisted. Atwood through this intertextuality is showing the power of the written word, how easily it can be manipulated to serve unjust purposes and finally representing her own fears for rising Christian conservative views. Power of language - Shown through the prohibition of literature and reading. Offred's defiance is shown through her playing of Scrabble, and her regular manipulation of words - especially through anadiplosis. Reflects the power of language to both enlighten and inspire within the real world. Defining gender roles - As mentioned within the government section, women are greatly oppressed, forced to cover all their skin, avoid contact and limit their meaningful reactions with others. Although the limited sexual power Offred has is used for her enjoyment, her overall insignificance reflects the oppression of women currently occurring in countries like Iran.



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