The novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood focuses on the choices made by the society of Gilead in which the preservation and security of mankind is more highly regarded than freedom or happiness. This society has undergone many physical changes that have led to extreme psychological ramifications. I think that Ms. Atwood believes that the possibility of our society becoming as that of Gilead is very evident in the choices that we make today and from what has occured in the past. Our actions will inevitably catch up to us when we are most vulnerable.
“We are for breeding purposes..There is supposed to be nothing entertaining about us, no room is to be permitted for the flowering of secret lusts..We are two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices (p. 176).”
In the society of Gilead, the most highly valued aspect of life is giving birth to a healthy child without deformities. Gilead was the aftermath of a nuclear world war (or some type of chemical mishap involving most of the world). As a result of this, some women and men are left sterile and unable to increase the significantly decreased population. The women who are fertile are placed in institutions where they are trained in the process of pregnancy and child bearing, those who are not are left to die in areas with concentrated radiation.
This society has undergone a change so extraordinary that it has taken us from one extreme to the next, leaving many people wondering what happened to make it so. The things that were most highly honored and respect are now treated with disdain. These changes were not all detrimental but the majority of them we could have done without. Ms. Atwood poses that humankind has a nature to develope, whether that development is for the empowerment or destruction of our society is unknown until the consequences take place.
“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…There were limits, but my body was nevertheless lithe, single, solid, one with me…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 (p.
Daisy Buchanan and Myrtle of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Daisy and Myrtle: The Women of The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a fascinating work that details the corruptive influence of greed. The main character is a man named Gatsby. The two main female characters are Daisy and Myrtle. These two women provide an interesting contrast while complementing each other at the same time. Daisy is living a life of luxury while Myrtle is struggling to make ends meet. They both play major roles in the novel, and, although their intentions seem pure and promising enough, they both are doomed to succumb to greed which causes eventual death.
Even though Daisy and Myrtle are the extremes of one another, there are still haunting bonds between them. Death is one of these bonds, due to a twist in plot, as Daisy kills Myrtle. Daisy inadvertently hits Myrtle as she speeds to safety, but Fitzgerald hints that, subconsciously, Daisy had always wished Myrtle had not been part of her life. Happiness is another emotion that binds Daisy and Myrtle together. Daisy’s happiness is dependent on Myrtle’s sadness. This concept is based on the fact that Myrtle has taken away something that was once in Daisy’s power; her husband Tom. Throughout the book Daisy and Myrtle almost strive to take power away from one another, ultimately leading to the death of Myrtle, leaving Daisy the only woman to live out her superficial life.
Myrtle Wilson is characterized to be an “average” woman. She is a woman who lives a middle class lifestyle but she wants what Daisy and women of her status crave, to be swept off her feet by some devilishly handsome man with a bank account to spend on her. Myrtle, like Daisy, wants romance; she desires lust, wealth, and security that in her mind only a…
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…Daisy takes a path she is accustomed to; a path that allows her to live a sad but true lie.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Bewley, Marius. “Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of America.” In Modern Critical Interpretations: The Great Gatsby. edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1986. 11-27.
Lehan, Richard. “The Grotesque End Product of the American Dream.” In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 104-110.
McAdams, Tony. “Ethics in Gatsby: An Examination of American Values.” In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 111-120.
Rowe, Joyce A. “Delusions of American Idealism.” In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 87-95.