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Gender in the Handmaid's Tale and Emily Dickinson poems- Belinda Elogious

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Belinda Elogious

on 5 May 2015

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Transcript of Gender in the Handmaid's Tale and Emily Dickinson poems- Belinda Elogious

By Belinda Elogious
Individual and Society-
Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson wrote in the 1860s.
This was a time where women had little rights and were expected in society to marry and devote their life to their husband.
However Emily did not conform to these norms by not marrying and writing poetry, which was not meant for women.
Feminism was a recurring motif explored in her poems.
Connection between two texts
 Emily’s poems and the Handmaid’s Tale both show the
restraints and constriction of women.
 In the Handmaid’s Tale,
Offred is not allowed to have a job, a form of control in Gilead society
. This control determines how women should live their life.“They shut me prose” also demonstrates the control society exerts on women.
Women are meant to polite and quiet, “still”.
Unlike men who have freedom of speech.
 The concept of female submission is evident in“I gave myself to him”. Dickinson explores the idea of the
wife having to devote her life to her husband.
This is seen in Gilead society as
Handmaid’s are expected to devote their lives to their function.
 Both the novel and poem deal with men and society having control over women and illustrates an inequality between genders.

The Handmaid's Tale
"We are
not each other’s, anymore
. Instead,
I am his.
"- pg 192
The capitialisation of
emphasises marriage for a women means

devoting their life to their husband.
The words

portray marriage as a

business deal
rather than an act of love.
The persona compares marriage to being a
“Sweet debt”
which is an oxymoron.
The persona has to pay an everlasting debt which is
sweet in relation to the physical (sexual) aspects
of the relationship, which are pleasurable without love.
Offred's description of the role of Handmaids in Gilead society.
The words



"sacred vessels"

relate to reproduction.
Women are seen as parts rather than a whole.

symbolises the
figure of a woman
. It is also a biblical allusion to
which symbolises Handmaid's and their function.
Analysis- I gave myself to him
“We are two-legged
, that’s all:
sacred vessels
ambulatory chalices
”- pg 146
The quote is from Offred, the night after she loses her job.
Offred has lost her independence and now feels like the
property of her partner, Luke
Suggests the balance of power has shifted as Luke has the ability to provide fianancially.
Emily Dickinson
myself to Him—
And took Himself, for Pay,
The solemn
of a Life
Was ratified, this way—

The Wealth might disappoint—
Myself a poorer prove
Than this great
The Daily Own—of Love

Depreciate the Vision—
But till the Merchant buy—
Still Fable—in the Isles of Spice—
The subtle

At least—'tis Mutual—Risk—
Some—found it—Mutual Gain—
Sweet Debt
of Life—Each Night to owe—
Insolvent—every Noon—

Emily Dickinson
Analysis- They shut me in prose
They shut me up in

As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still"–

Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a
For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Look down opon Captivity –
And laugh – No more have I –

“Prose” is used as a metaphor for captivity
. Prose is known as a lower art form to traditional poetry, which was the domain of men. This expresses the restraint placed because of gender.
• The

symbolises freedom
and Emily compares constraining her to charging a bird with treason in a pound. Both useless ridiculous.
• Emily emphasises that

society can quieten her externally but not externally like her mind and creativeness
in the last line.

Individual and Their Society-
Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood published the Handmaid's Tale in 1985.
This book was inspired by Atwood's desire to address the inequality of women in her society.
The extremeness of inequality in Gilead, prompts readers to revaluate the discrimination of women in society.
Unknown. Chalice with grapes and wheat. 2012. Segatel, Italy.

AnonMoos. Venus female symbol pseudo 3D pink. 2011. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Venus-female-symbol-pseudo-3D-pink.svg

AnonMoos. Menus male symbol pseudo 3D blue. 2011. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mars-male-symbol-pseudo-3D-blue.svg

Unknown. No love.

Kaya, Murat G. Scales of justice.

Unknown. Bird silhouette. United States.

Unknown. Marriage.

Unknown. Emily Dickinson. 1848. Todd-Bingham picture collection. http://images.library.yale.edu/madid/oneItem.aspx?id=1774127&q=daguerreotype&q1=&q2=&qc1=&qc2=&qf1=&qf2=&qn=&qo=&qm=&qs=&sid=&qx

Unknown. Protest demanding action on sex discrimination complaints.1960s. https://reformproject.wikispaces.com/Liana+and+Cassidy+--Women%27s+Rights+Movement+1960-Present

Unknown. Margaret Atwood portrait. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3472.Margaret_Atwood

Unknown. His and Hers.

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