Theme Of Manipulation In The Handmaid's Tale

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In Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, manipulation is exercised through the lessons of the aunts. Their use of propaganda tricks the minds of the handmaid's, showing what position the handmaid's hold and how great it is to be living in Gilead, a place where women are respected and protected; however, it is brainwashing them and turning them into true believers, when in reality Gilead is a prison towards the handmaid's where their only purpose is to reproduce. In Chapter Nineteen of The Handmaid's Tale, during the ride to Commander Warren’s house, Offred has a flashback to when she was in the Red Center. In one of Aunt Lydia's lessons, she discusses how some women believed there would be no future and that the world would explode therefore putting the excuse that breeding was useless, and…show more content…
Donna Woolfolk Cross explains in her article, "Propaganda: How Not to Be Bamboozled" that propaganda shapes our attitudes on thousands of subjects by tactics such as name-calling which "consists of labeling people or ideas with words of bad connotation" (Cross 210). Aunt Lydia uses name-calling by stating that these women were lazy sluts and explains how important and how much better childbirth is in Gilead in comparison to the old days. Her manipulative speech is what blocks the handmaids from thinking, only to react unquestioningly. Cross's article explains that glittering generalities "try to get us to accept and agree without examining the evidence" (Cross 211). Aunt Lydia's use of glittering generalities and convincing tone of voice makes these women accept whatever she defines them as, giving no reason to think otherwise. Offred describes Aunt Lydia's voice as "pious, condescending, the voice of those whose duty is to tell us unpleasant things for our own good" (Atwood 113). During her lesson she states, “We want you to be valued,
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