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Comparison of Brave New World and Handmaid's Tale

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The utopia's in both Brave New World and The Handmaid's Tale, use different methods of obtaining control over individuals weather its in a relationship or having control over a whole society, but are both similar in the fact that humans are looked at as instruments. In both societies, the individuals have very little liberty and are always controlled strictly by the government. Brave New World and The Handmaid's Tale create fictional places where the needs and desires of humans are met, but not as well as they should be and not without a price. I think that the leaders in both books sacrifice the majority of the people for the minority. They are selfish and have gone a few steps to far in the severity of the way they run their society. These novels prove that the individual's freedom is sacrificed in dystopic societies when the government controls the knowledge, individuality and relationships of each person in order for there to be stability in the society. In The Handmaid's Tale and Brave New World, through issues of class systems and the control of reproduction, Margaret Atwood and Aldous Huxley forewarn that in an all-powerful society, it is destined to become corrupt.

Both novels treat humans as items and not as human beings. In HMT, the entire structure of the Gilead society was built around the single goal of reproduction. Gilead is a society facing a crisis of radically dropping birthrates and to solve the problem, it forces state control on the means of reproduction. The society's political order requires the overthrow of women. The government strips the women of the right to vote, the right to hold property or jobs, and the right to read. The women's ovaries and womb become a "national resource" to the society. Even thought this setting takes place in the future, it's almost like these events happened in the past because of the way they treat women. Is almost like history is repeating its self and that some people have not learned from the mistakes we have done in the past. Handmaids are socially conditioned in Gilead by the Aunts. At one point Offred even realizes the next generation of women will be easier to control because Gilead will be all they know. It's also important to note that in Gilead women are segregated even from each other, the Wives from Handmaids, and both from the poorer Econowives. Because the women are not united in thought or spirit, they are less likely to rebel, and thus easier to control. The women are controlled so much that the state completely remoulds their attitude and this is evident even to women that are independent like the narrator of HMT, Offred. Offred makes this evident when she is lying in the bathtub naked. "I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will . . . Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I'm a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping."

Offred views have changed on reproduction as the novel progresses. Originally she believes her body was an instrument, an extension of herself but now her body is only important because of its "central object", or womb which can bear a child. In BNW, we can see that humans are also treated as possessions but in a different sense. This directly follows the economic rules of supply and demand. Through the Bokanovsky and Podsnap Processes, the lower class is mass-produced on assembly lines to satisfy the needs of a market, just like any other manufactured good. The doctor in BNW proclaims the World State's belief that human beings are things meant to be "used up until they wear out." With respect to sexual pleasure, World State citizens are conditioned to view themselves, and others, as commodities to be consumed like any manufactured good. In both novels, the humans are treated as nothing more than "things" that can perform tasks imposed by the government. Personally, I think that the way they run the society in both of these novels are completely absurd and I don't know how someone had a sick enough mind to think of something like this. Also, sometimes I feel like I am just a minuet part of society and everyone is telling me what to do and it almost feels like I am being controlled just like Offred in HMT but I know at the end of the day that I have rights and I can make a difference. Even though both of the novels are fiction, it still shows that extreme power from the government can lead to control over the whole society. Sometime we take our lives and the government for granted but we don't



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