Reframing the Pillars of Power: The Incarnation of Language and Pleasure in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

10.22492.ijl.11.1.03

 

Authors:
Younes Poorghorban, University of Kurdistan, Iran
Ali Ghaderi, Razi University, Iran
Email: [email protected]
Published: October 28, 2022
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.11.1.03

Citation: Poorghorban, Y., & Ghaderi, A. (2022). Reframing the Pillars of Power: The Incarnation of Language and Pleasure in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.11.1.03


Abstract

Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a well-accomplished novel that won countless awards and became a part of the canon soon after publication in 1985. This dystopian fiction circles around Offred, a handmaid living under a totalitarian regime. The subjects in this regime are meticulously monitored. Power is exercised vastly on every terrain it has access to in this dystopia. This paper investigates the vehicles of power in light of the contemporary media scholar and cultural critic John Fiske’s cultural theories. Language, a significant terrain of power, is analysed both as a vehicle of power and an opposing force. Furthermore, we will illuminate how pleasure and discipline are involved in the exercise of power within the Republic of Gilead. In The Handmaid’s Tale, resistance is still producing itself even under a totalitarian government, and the subjects under that regime constantly display resistance wherever possible. Therefore, they can be considered neither as neutral objects nor as commodities. Moreover, we will demonstrate how pleasure is a significant cause for subordination of and resistance by the subjects. Lastly, this article elucidates how subjects resist the dominant power through Guerrilla Tactics.

Keywords

discipline, language, pleasure, power, Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale