Although Medea reconsiders her plan of murdering her children, she eventually sets in stone her initial plan as she does not want to show weakness. For her, this task is about sheer will power as she does not want her personal emotions ruining her plan. However, this whole plan was created due to her rage against Jason, which is an emotional reaction, but then she refuses to let her emotions towards her children stop her. This shows a sense of hypocrisy, whilst also showing a sense of sheer determination to follow through with her outrageous plan.
Her inner conflict between her maternal side and her murderous intentions is something which she has to face. In order to follow through with her plan, she must close her maternal side and push it to the side just so she can murder her children. In order to commit child homicide, Medea must close herself off to the part of her that is maternal. She rejects the path that includes a possible future with her children in Athens, a safe place she has secured no matter what her crimes. But Medea crosses a point of no return on her inner journey: She will not allow herself to retreat.
Examine Medea’s behaviour with Creon: what strategies does she use to manipulate him?
To manipulate Creon, Medea tends to take advantage of the softer attitude Creon has towards her as he empathises with her. She takes advantage of the fact that Creon also has a daughter which he absolutely cares a lot for and for Medea, she can use this as she is also a younger woman. At the same time, Medea has lost everything which can be seen as sad, although she can use it to gather pity thus getting leniency towards what she wants.
How does Medea’s speech after Creon’s exit give us further insight into her character?
After Creon leaves the scene, we can see that Medea is able to control her emotions in very stressful situations such as exile. By staying composed, she was able to convince Creon to let her stay for another day showing that this strategy works. At the same time, she also shows little emotion when talking about her children showing how much she truly cares, or in this case, doesn’t care about them.
What is the significance of the information the Nurse gives the audience? How does it influence our impressions of Medea’s character before we see her?
The nurse sets the scene for the audience and gives context to better understand the scene. This makes us think about Medea and that maybe she might be overreacting. The nurse portrays her as being overly dramatic comparing her current state, to many things in the past that would be considered worse to where she is at now. This creates the idea that maybe Medea is a “drama queen” as she exaggerates the size of this problem. However, Medea is also human and seems to be a very passionate woman, this is shown in her obsessive nature towards Jason and how much she thought she loved him. Therefore, this creates the initial impression that she might be annoying to talk to as she is overly obsessed with this idea of love and trust towards Jason.
How does The Chorus develop the detail and themes outlined in the Prologue? What dramatic effect is created? How does Medea characterise her suffering to the audience in her initial address?
The characters do not talk to or meet Medea until later on in the scene. The Chorus highlights the idea that Medea is overreacting through the fact that they think Medea should just move on, similar to the nurse, that maybe Medea is just too obsessed with this idea. This creates the effect that we initially would think that Medea is a mess, that Medea cannot get over a man that has done her wrong, through her common depiction of her depressive episode. With her frequent use of saying she wants to die, lack of eating, loathing around, and so on, we would initially think that maybe Medea is struggling to keep hold of herself. However, when she walks out, she looks very well put together contrasting the common idea that she is a “mess”.
Is Atwood’s novel ultimately a feminist work of literature, or does it offer a critique of feminism?
In Margeret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, women are the main victims in society in the world she has created within the novel. The Republic of Gilead is her depiction of society but in a more exaggerated sense. In this case, men dominate society and women are in complete subjection. This is emphasised through the role of handmaids whose sole purpose is to provide fertile offspring for their commanders. Moreover, the handmaids in this society are also lost within their identity as they are not allowed to use their real names. But instead are given and forced to use names which represent them as the property of their commanders: Ofglen, Ofwarren, Offred.
At the same time, a secondary character of this story we follow, Moira, is known for her more rebellious thinking against the men in this society. With her, a more masculine style and the fact that she is lesbian is something that goes against all Gilead abides by women. However, this gives a sense of hope to Offred for a rebellion against the men in this society. This depiction of Moira and Offred represent feminism as they believe that women should take over/rebel in this society.
I see feminism as the advocacy/fight for equality within both genders: where women are given the same opportunities as men. However, that is not what I think the representation of feminism is like in The Handmaids Tale. I think the novel represents the feminist views in the way in which the handmaids in this society want to take over men. This represents the views of radical feminism as Moira and Offred want to reorder society to have women on top. The complete opposite of a patriarchal society at which The Republic of Gilead is.
Now to answer the question of whether if The Handmaids Tale is a piece of feminist literature or not, yes, I would say that it is. The novel represents an exaggeration of what some women face in society, not just the past but also the present. There are many different places around the world that still believe in these very old and traditional values which have been ruled out in many societies now. Atwood’s representation of women and their role in society within The Republic of Gilead, it shows that women who are oppressed want more as they are just as human as men are. Thus to conclude, it is a piece of feminist literature as it goes dives into the mind of women facing oppression from a patriarchal society. Their build-up of anger, rebellion, and frustration only builds up which also represents the passion at which some women have for the advocacy of feminism.
What is the symbolic power of naming as described in The Handmaid’s Tale? Link to your wider reading about the politics of naming. 250 – 300 words.
Naming is the way we mark our names to one another, to be able to associate a particular person with a story behind themselves. In Margeret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, it is not different. Established from the very beginning of the novel, the handmaids are given names Offred, Ofglen, and so on, all with the prefix ‘of’ symbolise their belonging to their specific commander. Not only does this symbolise their belonging to their specific commander due to the idea of working for them, but also their body and their relationship to the commander.
The importance of names is to be able to hold on to their own identity, not to eventually be slowly forgotten as they are all seen as the same. The idea of not having a name or their name being stripped from them dates back to days where oppression and genocide were common such as Jews in labor camps, black saves in the United States, and so on. The idea of not having a name for the handmaid themselves shows that they have no power, no sense of self, and also represented as Offred loses track of time and slowly, her identity.
This relates to the idea of the current Black Lives Matter movement, specifically the name of Breonna Taylor. That people have associated the problem of police brutality and the police abusing the system with the name Breonna Taylor. Contrasting The Handmaid’s Tale in associating power and a message with a name.
Born with the privilege of being a male, I have always known about the discrimination females have faced in society however, I never truly understood it. Yes I have heard many stories from my peers, sister, mother, and teachers about the oppression women face in general and I have tried to stand up for it but it never truly understood why this happens.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margeret Atwood written in 1985 is about a near-future dystopian society where most women are deemed infertile due to toxins and those who are fertile, are given the jobs to reproduce and only to reproduce with their owners.
This novel has opened my eyes to the reasons why women are oppressed. Due to commonly accepted patriarchal cultures in the past, these views take a long time to change. It was not only until the recent mid 20th century is when women started to really fight for their rights such as to vote and have equal opportunities as men. Although still facing oppression to this day, the fight for equality still goes on. The Handmaid’s Tale was able to paint a picture in my head, something which I was never able to do in terms of visualizing the issues women faced. By telling the story of someone who is forced to have sex whenever her owner demands, essentially being raped and not having the right to say no, is an exaggeration of what women face today. But how else was Margeret Atwood supposed to emphasize this problem without going to the extent of what a handmaid has to go through almost every day?
Media is filled with many opinionated pieces trying to swerve your view on an issue. “Trump impeached? He’s a good man, let’s go after the lady that impeached him.” Some Bias pieces in media form opinions instead of delivering news which sways the perspective of people. There are always two sides to the argument and there are always two different opinions on each issue.
“SARS-Corona Virus 2019: Best Thing That Has Happened to Our World Since the beginning of the Human Race?”
With this current pandemic, everyone is mad at the virus for causing their lives to be put on hold. I, myself want my life to go back to normal and the common belief is that this current pandemic is bad. With this headline, it is contradicting the common belief that COVID-19 could be doing more good than bad. There are many articles stating that the pandemic has helped the environment a lot more than anticipated.
“Mental Health Medication: Manipulating Those in Need”
Many people around the world suffer from mental health conditions, and a percentage of those people are medicated. Many people believe that medication helps them, whilst others believe that it is a scheme to exploit those going through tough times. In a world where many different people have many different beliefs, everyone wants to voice their opinion on something.
“Higher Levels of Education is a Scam”
With institutions of higher education being very expensive, many people are starting to consider if the money is worth the time. in a world with the internet, you can learn many new things for free or for a small price. It is a common belief that we have to go through University to get a job because we need to learn. What if we can actually learn the same thing we are paying $40,000 to $60,000 for $10 instead? People believe in higher education, others believe it is a way to exploit teenagers and their parents.
Morality stems from two sorts of decision-making systems: Utilitarianism – what we think is good, and Consequentialism – what we think is the best decision based on the known consequences. In defense of Isma, she was considering the consequences in terms of her family and in terms of the safety of her country. Isma was considering the safety of her country if her own brother, Parvaiz, who is a member of ISIS, were to be able allowed back into the country. Thinking about the impact it would have in general instead of just her family. The duty of thinking about the bigger picture instead of thinking of just her family which could potentially come off as selfish. The idea of virtue ethics where a good person would do what is good in general. In this case, Isma is portrayed as a good person throughout the entire novel as she wants what is best for others and cuts ties with those who have made ‘bad’ decisions. When she decides to report Parvaiz, she decides it in a way where if she were to step into someone else’s shoes and what would they want for the better of society.
Duty Ethics is the idea that you completely ignore the consequences and think about the duty you hold in your role. For example, Isma clearly cares about Parvaiz and Aneeka but did think about her role as a citizen of her country. Weighing out the pros and cons of what could potentially happen. She knows that it would ruin her relationship with Aneeka but thought about her duty to report such actions that someone did such as Parvaiz potentially being a threat as he is part of ISIS.
(these pictures were taken with the consent of the man in the image, although he did not want to disclose his name)
Whilst walking through Pasir Ris Park, I noticed a lot of the older generation of Singapore sitting alone looking out into the sea. A common stereotype associated with the older generation is more insensitive, tough, thinking the younger/modern generation have it all easy, and either disappointed or grateful for their life.
In these two images, I have the same elderly man alone just sitting down enjoying the view of the sea. I decided to isolate my subject by making sure he was the only person in the frame, trying to use a lower aperture so there would be a little more background/foreground blur creating a shallower depth of field (which I was not able to accomplish due to wrong camera settings), and using the rule of thirds to frame him in the bottom left-hand corner to show that there is a lot more of the world around him.
I wanted to tell the story of a man who was contemplating his decisions throughout life, with all of us living in regret, just looking back and thinking about our past decisions really make us reflect on the mistakes we have made. A lot of the older generation say that they are satisfied with what they have done in their lives but is that really true? Everyone feels alone in this world, loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression, it is a common human instinct to want to feel appreciated and loved by another human being. This man might have lost a loved one, thinking about his future, his past, maybe suffering from a mental disorder, I will never know. Mental health among the older generation is something a lot of our modern generation do not consider as it is common amongst the younger generations.
We all have something we go through. My generation (Generation Z) and Millenials are not the generations going through something.
“Everybody’s got something” – Sneako
In both representations of Muslim women, they are conveyed as empowered women. In Home Fire, Aneeka stands out because she is Muslim in a non-muslim country such as the UK. Whereas the subject in Yumna Al-Arashi’s photos is wearing a Burqa whilst posing in confidently.
Although Yumna Al-Arashi’s photos are all taken in Yemen, which is a Muslim country, it shows the confidence in the subject as the photos do not isolate her. A common theme between all of Yumna’s photos is how she decides not to use a low aperture to create a shallow depth of field (background blur) which is used to isolate the subject in photography, instead, she chooses to create a large depth of field to show that Muslim women don’t need to be isolated from society, feel empowered and take on the world. Likewise, the subject is wearing a Burqa, which is a piece of religious clothing and strongly represents the Islamic religion to show how comfortable she is as she stands out.
In Home Fire, the hijab is used to mainly represent empowerment as she is in the UK and wears a Hijab throughout her everyday life. With the discrimination women of religion face in the UK, Aneeka wears a hijab to stand up against that discrimination to show that she can do what everyone else can just with a hijab. However, Aneeka is represented as someone who is religious and takes Islam seriously through her comments on how prayer is not about the transaction and how she puts on a bra for the sole purpose of praying. Although before and after she prays, it is suggested that Aneeka and Eammon had pre-marital sex which is either forbidden or looked down upon in Islam.