Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    English Lit - Just gone out on a whim really, as I'm struggling a little with this essay title:
    “The images ofbrilliant emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel abouttotalitarian blindness… the effect is chilling” - Discuss.
    The quote seems to be simply a review from the Sunday Times, and yet I am completely unsure where to start with this question?!
    I know I need to include historical context, reference to imagery, language etc. and literary criticism - was wondering if anyone has the foggiest idea of what I could include?
    Would be very much appreciated!
    • TSR Support Team
    • Study Helper
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Study Helper
    (Original post by poppyjoneslittle)
    English Lit - Just gone out on a whim really, as I'm struggling a little with this essay title:
    “The images ofbrilliant emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel abouttotalitarian blindness… the effect is chilling” - Discuss.
    The quote seems to be simply a review from the Sunday Times, and yet I am completely unsure where to start with this question?!
    I know I need to include historical context, reference to imagery, language etc. and literary criticism - was wondering if anyone has the foggiest idea of what I could include?
    Would be very much appreciated!
    "Brilliant emptiness" is an oxymoron - there is nothing brilliant about being empty, void of feeling and emotion.

    So I think the (stupid essay question (not really an essay qystion)) is trying to say how does the dystopian world of totalitarianism juxtapose the idea of how emptiness seems to be a good thing. For example, the sex part where she is made to have sex with the woman's husband - the protagonist feels nothing - she mentions it a few times, how she does does her part just by being there, being a vessel for procreation. From this emptiness is seen to be a good thing because if you were to let your emotions and etc be seen in a totalitarian environment, you would not survive.

    Does all this make sense?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    That makes so much sense - thank you! I hadn't thought of it as an oxymoron, that's a good point.
    So I guess through arguing that emptiness may be viewed as "brilliant" within the regime as it allows for basic survival, would kinda work?
    But then I could contrast this with the fact that "empty", barren women are subjected to death - fertility is longed for - women are condemned for being "empty" in this sense?
    I was thinking also that the very nature of dystopian literature is "empty"?
    Thank you so much for your guidance.
    • TSR Support Team
    • Study Helper
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Study Helper
    (Original post by poppyjoneslittle)
    That makes so much sense - thank you! I hadn't thought of it as an oxymoron, that's a good point.
    So I guess through arguing that emptiness may be viewed as "brilliant" within the regime as it allows for basic survival, would kinda work?
    But then I could contrast this with the fact that "empty", barren women are subjected to death - fertility is longed for - women are condemned for being "empty" in this sense?
    I was thinking also that the very nature of dystopian literature is "empty"?
    Thank you so much for your guidance.
    Yes that would work. The feeling of emptiness is brilliant because if they were to care about things and let themselves get so worked up, they just wouldn't be able to let go of their past. There's that woman who lied about something and in one part they all say something like "I shall not be like [insert her name here]" and they have to repeat that. Cause she failed at producing a child or something and she goes borderlien crazy when she finds out Of... (cant remember progtagonist's name) is chosen to have sex with the main man. It just shoes that if you get yourself worked up, you'll turn yourself mad, so it's better to feel empty, rather than remember how it was to still feel something.

    Well fertility is only longed for because that's what women's position are in Handmaid's Tale. If they aren't able to produce children, then they were sentenced to death. Even so, if a woman were to become pregnant, that baby doesn't become theirs - so they are still void of emptiness all together.

    Well in what terms do you think it's empty? There does seem to be a sense of emptiness and hopelessness in Tale. However, her constant memory flashbacks suggest she is trying to cling onto her past, to make sure that she doesn't become hallow because then, she is just a vessel to use by the men. And I think that is one of Atwood's concerns of how women are used by men. If the woman has her past to remember, she can remember her identity, and in that sense that makes it strong - it makes the whole feeling of emptiness redundant because the main character ends up escaping and she does cause she remember her her and her best friend used to be and that's how she managed to remember things when she was in that brothel thing. (I haven't read enough dystopian lit to conlude that all dystopian lit are empty, but some may show hope - by clinging onto what you remember of your past, then will help you survive a world of total pessimism when you can recall on your joyful memories?).

    Sorry, my memory is so hazy. I read this novel during the summer and have a read a ton of other stuff since!
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: November 2, 2015
Poll
“Yanny” or “Laurel”
Useful resources

Make your revision easier

OMAM

Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.

Notes

Revision Hub

All our revision materials in one place

Love books

Common grammar and vocabulary problems

Get your questions asked and answered

Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.