The Handmaid's Tale

The Many Forms and Effects of Imprisonment as Presented by The Handmaid’s Tale and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 12th Grade

Prison, in its most basic interpretation, is an institution or building made for individuals who broke the law and committed crime. It serves as a punishment or penalty by isolating them from the rest of the “free” world and confining them within the space that the structure provides. However, the term imprisonment can extend beyond simple physical walls, fences, or jail cells. The feeling of imprisonment can take and manifest in countless forms and its effects may also apply to individuals other than criminals. In fact, these are issues that some, if not most people face in a daily basis. In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, both authors use their respective characters in order to illustrate these. In Rowling’s book, she uses Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew to show that people are and can be imprisoned in many ways, whereas Atwood uses the Handmaids particularly Offred, the Wives, the Commanders to do the exact same thing. On the other hand, the very distinct settings of “Hogwarts” and the “Republic of Gilead” along with the unique plots that each novel gives help depict the effects of imprisonment both to the mind and the body. As a result of the...

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