Eng4U1 Evaluation: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale Your Best Essay

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ENG4U1 Evaluation: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

Your Best Essay Ever

Essay Due Date: Please be prepared to submit the good copy of your essay on Tuesday June 7th, 2016

  • Choose one of the following essay topics and write a literary essay of 700-800 words in length. The essay must be double-spaced and properly cited (use correct MLA formatting). Your essay will need to include direct quotations as the proof for your points (arguments), as well as specific references to the text in your analysis. Your literary essay should be four paragraphs in length (introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion).

Order of Completion:

  1. Select a topic and brainstorm as many arguments and approaches to the topic question as possible.

  1. Develop a thesis statement. Remember, this must be an arguable statement, meaning that it needs to be more than a statement that is obvious or universally accepted. Take a clear position in this statement.

  1. Create an essay outline. Develop 2 relevant supporting arguments (to structure each body paragraph). For each argument (body paragraph) you will need a minimum of 2 points (arguments), 2 proofs (this must be a direct quotation from the text), as well as a thorough follow-up analysis for each point and proof. Plan your work thoughtfully on this outline.

  1. From the planning that you have produced from your brainstorming and outline, you will need to write an essay rough copy. Develop your arguments and analysis in paragraph format, use transitions to improve the flow of your writing, include citations for your quotations (MLA style), etc.

  1. Two of your classmates will be expected to peer edit your rough copy. Use these suggestions/edits to improve your writing, however, it is important not to allow this peer editing to replace your own self-editing.

  1. Type your essay good copy. The good copy of your literary essay should be typed in a 12 point, readable font, double-spaced, properly cited (with a Works Cited page) with a creative title. No title pages are permitted. Include your name, the course code (ENG4U1-06), my name (Mrs. Robinson), and the due date (Tuesday June 7th, 2016) in the top, left-hand corner of the first page of your essay submission. Your last name and the page number should be a header in the top, right-hand corner of your entire submission.

Topic Choices:

  • Take a clear position (your thesis statement must guide your analysis) based on ONE of the following topics provided….

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale has been referred to as a “scathing satire and a dire warning”. Analyze The Handmaid’s Tale as a satirical piece of writing and/or a cautionary tale that is meant to reflect the potential dangers of our own modern world (Consider: gender inequality, corporate corruption, rampant consumerism, an over-reliance on technology, mob mentality/compliance, political fear mongering, the threat of nuclear destruction, etc.)

  1. Explore the ways in which Moira is presented as a significant character foil to Offred in the novel.

  1. In the text, Offred narrates, “I’m sorry there is so much pain in this story. I’m sorry it’s in fragments, like a body caught in crossfire or pulled apart by force. But there’s nothing I can do to change it” and she also refers to her story as both “limping and mutilated”. Comment on the purpose and effect of Offred’s first-person narration, as well as the narrative techniques used by Atwood (consider: Offred’s memories in the form of flashbacks) in this novel.

  1. Analyze how the intersection between politics and sexual reproduction create the problematic oppression of women that is meaningfully explored throughout The Handmaid’s Tale (consider: the treatment of women’s bodies, the limitation of female bonding and friendships, the restrictions put on various forms of communication, etc.)

  1. Analyze the strategic use and effect of the characteristics of dystopian literature in The Handmaid’s Tale (consider: the restriction of independent thoughts and freedoms, manipulative propaganda is used, fear governs everyone, surveillance breeds paranoia and compliance, dehumanization is widespread, conformity prevents rebellion, etc.).

  1. Despite Atwood’s portrayal of Gilead as soulless and destructive, has she nevertheless succeeded in creating a lingering sense of hope and optimism by the end of the novel? Take a position on this key question and analyze it thoughtfully.

  2. Analyze the use and effect of character archetypes (the corruptor, the tyrant, the rebel, the sacrificial lamb) in The Handmaid’s Tale.

  1. “All around us we see evidence of the way in which power is institutionalized and abused.” Comment on the significance of this quotation in connection with Atwood’s portrayal of religion within the setting of the novel (the theocracy of Gilead).

  1. Analyze the significance of Offred’s relationships with men in the novel (Consider: Offred’s relationship with Luke, Offred’s relationship with Nick, Offred’s relationship with the Commander, etc.)

  1. Examine how one of the novel’s central themes (consider: the practicality of sex and marriage, the power of reading, writing, and storytelling, the significance of moral relativism, etc.) develops or is developed by another literary element used throughout the text (consider: character, setting, figurative language, etc.)

  2. Analyze the portrayal of the Aunts (Aunt Lydia) and of the Wives (Serena Joy) in the novel. Consider how they relate to other women, and how this allows them fit into the hierarchy of Gilead.

  3. Analyze if the Commander is predominately characterized as a sympathetic hero or a manipulative monster in the novel.

  4. How is the character development of Moira important in shaping the key messages within the novel?

  5. Analyze the use of motifs (repeated symbols) throughout the novel (consider: eyes, the colour red, beauty products, uniforms/costumes, flowers/references to nature, the wall, mirrors, the moon, sexual violence, etc.)

  6. A topic of your choice (these must be approved by Mrs. Robinson first).

Please Note: In addition to the paper copy that you will submit in class on the due date, an electronic copy of your literary essay must also be submitted to www.turnitin.com no later than 11:59PM on Tuesday June 7th, 2016.
You will have 4 periods in class to work on this evaluation. The rest of the work must be done at home. Enjoy and good luck!

Pay close attention to the assignment details and to the attached rubric to ensure that all expectations are met.

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