The role of language in the handmaid's tale

Páginas: 4 (890 palabras) Publicado: 29 de septiembre de 2010

‘Words in their primary or immediate signification signify nothing but the ideas in the mind of him that uses them.’ It is claimed that wordsstand for ideas and language can be directly related to reason. Reason is one of the primary characteristics of the human nature, and language a form of communication; characterized as symbols whichform part of a system for encoding and decoding information. Language is the primary source of expression and the clearest form of manifestation of ideas which implies a human thought, even though thethought can be present without resulting as words. Language contributes to the evolution of knowledge, helps in the connection and expression of ideas through words capable of determining, untilcertain extent, knowledge and intelligence.
In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, first published in 1986, language is used as a tool of power. Throughout the essay, the waylanguage is manipulated for the benefit of the Republic of Gilead and its regime can be demonstrated. Plus, the irony Atwood implies by describing the setting where the story takes place and the wayHandmaids have ignorance imposed.
The presence and manipulation of power is one of the most important themes in this novel. In the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian theocracy is imposed due to very lowbirth rates leading to the concern of the state and inducing the assignment of Handmaids to bear children for higher class infertile couples. There is no consent to be ruled and a total control ofthe government over everything takes place, freedom and rights of the citizens are completely suppressed, especially for women. The only place where people are completely free is in their thoughts butthe only way of expressing those thoughts, is the use of speech and language which is censored by limiting their knowledge. Handmaids are forbidden to use books, writing or even establishing long...
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