The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985 Set in a near-future, the novel explores a totalitarian theonomy where women are subjugated to subservient roles and denied basic human rights. It is a cautionary tale of a society in which religious freedom and individual liberty have been replaced by the ideological norms of a fundamentalist society.
The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent source for essay topics, as it is filled with complex symbolism and thought-provoking themes that lend themselves to thoughtful analysis. Here are five potential essay topics related to The Handmaid’s Tale:
1. Analyzing the treatment of women in The Handmaid’s Tale: This essay topic encourages students to delve deeper into the gendered structure of Gilead, the oppressive dystopia in which the novel is set. It could examine how women are treated as property, how their autonomy is denied, and the implications of this subjugation.
2. Examining the construction of power in The Handmaid’s Tale: This essay topic could explore how power is established and maintained in Gilead, and how this power dynamic is communicated through the novel. It could also look at whether there is a way to challenge this power structure.
3. Analyzing the role of religion in The Handmaid’s Tale: This essay could focus on the role of religion as a tool of control, and how it is used to oppress people in Gilead. It could explore how religious fundamentalism is used as a justification for oppression, and how this is portrayed in the novel.
4. Exploring the symbolism and imagery of The Handmaid’s Tale: This essay could focus on how symbolism and imagery are used to convey meaning, and how different symbols are used to represent different aspects of Gilead. It could also look at how Atwood uses symbols to reflect on larger themes in the novel.
5. Examining the themes of choice and resistance in The Handmaid’s Tale: This essay could consider how choices are restricted for female characters in Gilead, and how they attempt to exercise their autonomy despite this. It could also look at the implications of Offred, the protagonist, deciding to stay in her situation.