Writing up your research notes

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In this post I will show you how one student wrote up his research notes.

The student researched – Representations of Women in Dystopian Literature.

His first key question was, ‘How are women treated in these dystopian societies?’ and I have added some of his notes below.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Women are degraded and sexually objectified. The Aunts teach them to think of themselves as “seeds”, “ovens”, “chalices” and “cradles”. They are political tools and treated as “national resources.” Offred, central character, begins to internalise Gilead’s view and treatment of women: “I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will… Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping.”

1984 George Orwell

People are stripped of individuality yet kept isolated from one another at the same time. Women are taught to hate men and more importantly women. Julia: “How I hate women!”

Double standards exist. While women are taught to hate sex and participate in it only for reproduction, prostitution was encouraged to vent a man’s uncontrollable sexual desire.

Children of Men by Alfonso Cuaron

Implicitly similar to The Handmaid’s Tale. Kee only gains importance once she becomes pregnant. No longer is she seen as a person.

Also there is a threat that she may be used as a political tool. The Fishes claim the government would say her baby was born to a “posh, black English woman.”


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