GoldenShade
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Hey I'm doing an essay on the handmaid's tale tomorrow and the title is 'what does the ceremony symbolise?' Any ideas?
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livlivlivlivliv
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It might be interesting to consider why it's called 'The Ceremony'and the implications behind that. For example, much like many other dystopian novels, Atwood has replaced the names of things that are negative with word that force them to appear more positive. (e.g. 'the Angels', 'salvagings', or simply the term 'handmaid'. The effect of this is that it shows how dictatorial and oppressional regimes work through the use of language. I would argue language is the most important concept and theme not only in 'The Handmaid's Tale', but in any dystopian novel).
The Ceremony is something that, for the reader, is clearly distressing and not wholly pleasant to read about, yet it has this gracious title that makes it appear like a positive thing in order to keep the regime going and make the negativity of, what is clearly a form of rape (although Offred does not agree with it being labelled this), seem like good thing, like as a Handmaid this is what you should want! It makes it appear like a ritual and a routine to be getting into, even if you may not want to.

In terms of the actual 'ceremony' itself I would argue it represents Offred's (further) loss of identity. In that moment with the Commander and Serena, she is purely a baby-making device with no other use that to produce a child. The moments when the Ceremonies take place are the epitome of Offred's lack of worth (in their eyes) and her own symbolism to only have the purpose of producing children.
Likewise, The Ceremony symbolise the success of the regime- this is exactly what the regime intended and the success of it is prevalent in these moments. It would be good perhaps to mention along side this that although it is moments like this when there is a clear symbolic display of a successful regime, these are met with symbolic moments of the regime's lack of success like Offered using the butter as moisturiser or more obvious things like 'nolite te *******es carborumdorum'.

Important to consider how The Ceremony symbolises different things depending on who you are. As reader what it represents is entirely different to what it symbolises for the regime leaders or what it symbolises to Offred, or to Serena etc.
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GoldenShade
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(Original post by livlivlivlivliv)
It might be interesting to consider why it's called 'The Ceremony'and the implications behind that. For example, much like many other dystopian novels, Atwood has replaced the names of things that are negative with word that force them to appear more positive. (e.g. 'the Angels', 'salvagings', or simply the term 'handmaid'. The effect of this is that it shows how dictatorial and oppressional regimes work through the use of language. I would argue language is the most important concept and theme not only in 'The Handmaid's Tale', but in any dystopian novel).
The Ceremony is something that, for the reader, is clearly distressing and not wholly pleasant to read about, yet it has this gracious title that makes it appear like a positive thing in order to keep the regime going and make the negativity of, what is clearly a form of rape (although Offred does not agree with it being labelled this), seem like good thing, like as a Handmaid this is what you should want! It makes it appear like a ritual and a routine to be getting into, even if you may not want to.

In terms of the actual 'ceremony' itself I would argue it represents Offred's (further) loss of identity. In that moment with the Commander and Serena, she is purely a baby-making device with no other use that to produce a child. The moments when the Ceremonies take place are the epitome of Offred's lack of worth (in their eyes) and her own symbolism to only have the purpose of producing children.
Likewise, The Ceremony symbolise the success of the regime- this is exactly what the regime intended and the success of it is prevalent in these moments. It would be good perhaps to mention along side this that although it is moments like this when there is a clear symbolic display of a successful regime, these are met with symbolic moments of the regime's lack of success like Offered using the butter as moisturiser or more obvious things like 'nolite te *******es carborumdorum'.

Important to consider how The Ceremony symbolises different things depending on who you are. As reader what it represents is entirely different to what it symbolises for the regime leaders or what it symbolises to Offred, or to Serena etc.

You are my saviour! That is ever so helpful, many thanks x
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