The Handmaid's Tale

Identity: Fighting Dystopia's Cookie-Cutter Molds College

Dystopian governments often work hard to erase identity through specific social constructs; they work to force the people they govern into a “cookie-cutter” mold. In literature, this molding is often fought by a person within the society, and that fight leads at least one person to become a more extreme individual as V in V for Vendetta, Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale, and I-330 in WE all did. In older dystopian novels, the narrator is often not that individual but someone close to the person fighting the mold. In novels that have an audience more centered on young adults and teens, the main character becomes the character fighting against the government-restricted identity. Finding the fight for individualism and freedom in identity is a theme held in common within The Handmaid’s Tale, WE, and V for Vendetta.

Governmental control of women’s rights and identities in The Handmaid’s Tale, along with Moira’s extreme defiance of this control, gives the reader the idea that identity is a key concept within the dystopia that Moira calls home. The Republic of Gilead’s government is continuously trying to take the women’s “old” identities away and give them “new” identities. By changing their names, giving them jobs or titles, assigning...

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