The Handmaid's Tale

Gilead's Greatest Hits: Volume One

When the general public studies and analyzes fiction, the plot, exposition of characters, climax, and resolution seemingly serve as the "critical" elements highlighted in its evaluation. Provocative literature, however, employs several less predictable but arguably more poignant characteristics. Description and symbolism flesh out the plot and characters, adding depth and form rather than mere shape and matter. Margaret Atwood's subtle use of diction, imagery and allusion in her novel The Handmaid's Tale lends dimension and realism to a dystopian society. Through her subtle use of the titles of the cassette tapes, Atwood alludes to the moral foundations of the Republic of Gilead, and thus displays her linguistic prowess. Several tapes bear the titles of "Folk Songs of Lithuania" and "Mantovani's Mellow Strings," which represent both the return to tradition and modesty pursued in this society. Furthermore, "Elvis Presley's Golden Years" hearkens to the controversy of sexuality and society's role in its censure. As an assimilation of the two, "Boy George Takes It Off" and "Twisted Sisters at Carnegie Hall" represent the question and clarification of...

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