The manipulation of language and silencing of women's voices is used to illustrate a dystopian society in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. In the story, the men of Gilead oppress and often mistreat the women who are essentially their slaves: the handmaids. The ruling men are in control, and they have become completely inured to the value of life and, in particular, to the value of the lives of their handmaids.
The author illustrates this through the manipulation of language by eliminating the handmaid’s names. They no longer are called by the names they had when they were free women. They are now called by their commander or master’s names, as if they were chattel. Offred is called that because she is “of Fred.” She belongs to Fred, as if she were his possession or instrument. She no longer has an identity of her own. She is merely an instrument for Fred, the Commander, to use to breed children.
Another manipulation of language...
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