Comparison Between the Handmaids Tale and Gattaca - Essay Example

Published: 2022-12-09
Comparison Between the Handmaids Tale and Gattaca - Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature Movie The Handmaid's Tale
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1448 words
13 min read

Dystopian literature has controlled the human mind for a long time, and themes such as repression of individuality and the autonomy to express a unique identity have become common throughout various literary works. The mistreatment of humankind due to factors such as poverty, famine, and war depict the current global challenges and predict the consequences when such issues are left unsolved. The movie Gattaca and Margret Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale mirror dystopian societies in their attitude to social class and human reproduction. Dehumanization of people and utopia themes are clearly illustrated in both fictions through the society's dependence on a group of elites. Even though Gattaca and Handmaid's Tale have similarities in dystopian themes, both fictions challenge reproduction from two different views: science and religion.

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Dystopian thinkers have a unique perspective of human nature. Dystopian view human nature much like science potentially good and evil which can be varied. Dystopians hold that one cannot escape those in positions of power. In the Handmaid tale and the Republic of Gilead, men hold powerful commander positions. The militant men control society and demote women. A political war eradicates the existing Gilead government, and the poor environmental conditions render most of the women unable to conceive (Atwood 18). The few women who can conceive are forced to be handmaids and have children on behalf of their counterparts who cannot. The handmaids are majorly from the low social class, and their masters are commanders and their wives who are unable to conceive. As such, women in Handmaid's tale are stratified according to their social class. The poor women are handmaids while those belonging to commanders are their masters.

Gattaca movie uses fiction science to present a society where the social status is defined by one's genetic structure. Eugenics is the most common method of giving birth. Individuals with natural genetic structure are viewed as inferiors and have a low life expectancy (Gattaca movie). Moreover, children born out of the natural process are given menial jobs because of their low social class and perceived vulnerability. On the other hand, individuals that are born through genetic engineering processes are perceived as strong members of society and are offered great opportunities. In Gattaca natural conception is not endorsed since it leads to the birth of inferior members of the society. Every parent in Gattaca society is striving to have their children be products of genetic engineering for them to be accepted in the community.

Handmaid Tale is focused on biblical teachings, and gender roles reflect those of ancient world normalities. The handmaid tale is a patriarchal society that doesn't give much recognition for women. Generally, women in the handmaid Tale are valued only by their ability to conceive. When the patriarchal system ascends to power radical changes to demote women take place. Firstly working women have deprived their jobs. Secondly, their money is transferred to their husband's bank accounts. Moreover, women are denied an opportunity to access formal education. In the handmaids Tale, the role of women has been minimized to servants, maids, or whores.

In Gattaca, society heavily relies on science for the production of children. People are taught that naturally conceived individuals are inferior and do not deserve many opportunities because of their vulnerabilities. Doctors go to the extent of even predicting the number of years a naturally conceived child is supposed to live. The overdependence of science has made the Handmaids Tale society to be polarized based on one's genetics formation. Even though in Handmaids tale discrimination is illegal D.N.A analysis is common and those found naturally born are considered invalid. For instance when Vincent is born his parents believe that his life can be taken away by a small incident and thus they treat him as a critically ill person. Moreover, his brother Anton is considered worth his father's name because he does not have any genetic problem.

In both, the Handmaids Tale and the Gattaca language is used to control the state assisting dystopian leaders in staying in power by using cunning language to blind free thought. People are not aware of their rights thus are unable to rebel against social convections. In the Gattaca, society is made to believe that only genetically engineered people can do serve in lucrative positions or do meaningful jobs. Through language, the doctor informs Vincent's parents about his genetic condition further strengthening the thought of inferiority. However, it is clear that people who have been born naturally are not inferior as depicted by society leadership. For instance, Vincent who is perceived as genetically inferior saves his brother from drowning during a swimming game.

The handmaid's Tale uses language to influence individuals in the dystopia. However, the Handmaids Tale also uses religious dialogue to prevent untraditional thought. Religious c conversations happen in the talks between handmaids. For example, when Offred greets Ofglen she says "blessed be the fruit" then Ofglen responds "may the Lord open." Such a conversation may restrict them from talking much about their condition. Even if they remember past thoughts, they are unable to discuss them because of the linguistic restraints. Therefore, any rebellious thought remains unspoken enabling the regime to continue unchallenged.

Both Handmaid's Tale and Gattaca societies rely on a group of elites who control the community. In the Handmaid's Tale men are regarded as the social, political, and military leaders. Military commanders are accorded great powers to have sex with handmaids under the watch of their wives to have children. Men have been defined by their gender roles and exhibit rule over women. In the Gattaca individuals born from genetic engineering processes are regarded as the top cream and social elites. Genetic babies receive warn appreciation, and great care is taken to them from birth. People born from genetic engineering occupy superior positions in society and have correspondingly more privileges.

The Gattaca together with the Handmaid's Tale society main issues revolves around reproduction. The process of giving birth to young one is a recurring theme in the two fictional works. In the Gattaca, people are classified as either superior or inferior based on their mode of reproduction. Individuals that have undergone the natural reproduction process are viewed as weak and undeserving. In Handmaid's Tale, women's main work is to give birth to children. The Handmaids worth is based on their ability to conceive and bear children. Women who reproduce weak children are ridiculed by those whose genetic constitution produce strong children.

Both works show exaggerated ideas of social control perpetrated by authoritarian regimes. The Handmaid's Tale society focuses on addressing the issue of reproduction while suppressing the fundamental right for freedom. Women are ideological captives where they have been conditioned to think that their worth depends on their ability to sire children. Handmaid's Tale society does not prospect the effects of suppressing women rights. Moreover, women are not empowered to advance in their academics. Society limits them to menial house jobs. The act of suppressing women rights and freedom is a calculated move to render them powerless and unconscious to arouse opposition to the autocratic male-dominated leadership.

Similarly, in Gattaca social control is perpetrated by advances in reproduction technologies that have become a benchmark for social ideals of perfection based on genetic composition. During the first scene of Gattaca, Vincent is shown shaving and scrubbing his body in an unnecessary manner. The scene presents extreme close-ups, and the body matter is depicted as a dominant component. As such, the body is an important tool to control society. The unhurried tempo accompaniment that is played in all the scenes starts with suspense and continues to climax. The tempo gives a gloomy atmosphere meant to remind Vincent that he must get rid of his invalid body matter to assume the desired and respected identity of Jerome Morrow.

The Gattaca and Handmaid's tale are critical literary works that show dystopian societies and their perspective to reproduction and social class. Both texts are depicted reproduction as a major theme. The two literary works have stratified society sporadically based on one's gender and genetic formation. However, in Gattaca natural reproduction is unrecognized while in Handmaid's Tale natural reproduction is highly recognized. In Handmaid's Tale, the teachings are based on the bible while in the Gattaca people majorly believe in reproductive science. In Handmaid's Tale people are categorized in their social classes based on gender while in the Gattaca social class is divided between natural conception and genetic engineering. The two works of literature depict similarities in dystopian themes with notable differences in the way each views the issue of reproduction.

Works cited

Atwood, Margaret. The handmaid's tale. Everyman's Library Classics, 2018.

Gattaca (1997) Movie ** Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law. YouTube. N. p., 2019. Web. 28 Mar. 2019.

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