Analysis Of The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid’s Tale is a story set in the Republic of Gilead, a dystopian imagining of the future of the U.S.. The country that the author creates is one in which no form of total freedom exists and people are punished for what had been normal in the past. But worst of all, in that world, women are merely tools and their only purposes are a. to govern over other women, b. to cook and do housework, and c. to procreate. The story is told from the perspective of Offred, who is a Handmaid, given the role of reproduction. This is, apparently, a role that is necessary to increase the birth rate of the republic that dropped below the zero line of replacement (p.113).

The society in which this story takes place is one where social systems have crumbled, the failure seeming to have been caused by war. However, although all citizens have been robbed of freedom to some extent, and there have been many men who are executed (and consequently have their corpses publicly displayed) for “treason”, it is the women who were affected the most, and first to feel the changes. On the same day that the woman from the cigarette store disappears from the counter, and all women’s credit cards are cut off from their accounts, Offred is fired from her workplace, along with everyone else there, all women. Later, she is told by her friend that this is, evidently, part of a bigger movement: “Women can’t hold property anymore, she said. It’s a new law. Turned on the TV today?” (p.178) As the book
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