Critical readings: The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale

Via the MHS Library website you can access Bloom’s Literary References Online.  There are plenty of articles which focus on aspects of the two texts.  Lots of food for thought here as you plan your essay topics.

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Exam Preparation: essay topics

Compare The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale using the following quotations as the basis for your response:

‘It is still impossible for man to organise his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to
be struck between order and freedom.’ – The Crucible
‘There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.’ – The Handmaid’s Tale

 

The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale are not a warning against belief or faith, but against superstition
and extremism.’ Discuss.

 

‘In The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale, sex and sexuality are presented as a threat to society.’
Discuss.

 

Compare The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale using the following quotations as the basis for your response:

‘How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul;; leave me my name!’ – The Crucible

‘My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden. I tell myself
it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others;; but what I tell myself
is wrong, it does matter.’ – The Handmaid’s Tale

A view from Iran: freedom from or to?

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Read this extract extract from Tala Raassi’s memoir, Fashion is Freedom, published in The Sunday Age’s Life magazine.

 

THINK

  1. What restrictions did the Iranian republic bring to the lives of women?
  2. How did Raassi and her friends feel about this?
  3. What does fashion represent to Raassi?
  4. How does Raassi view freedom?
  5. Margaret Atwood drew on her memories of a 1979 visit to Kabul when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985.  In the book’s final chapter, The Historical Notes, we see that Gilead is being studied alongside the theocracy of Iran.  What parallels can you find between Raassi’s experience in Iran and The Handmaid’s Tale?