The handmaids tale is a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. Offred, the narrator, describes Gilead, as being a corrupt city where her rights were suppressed. Throughout the book we (the reader) are presented with many allusions, one of these being the bible. Atwood uses specific parts of the bible that glorifies marriage, convict women but absolve men of adultery for the purpose of childbirth to make the law’s in Gilead. Other Bible references that focus on meekness and humility has been used to dictate the handmaid’s behavior.
The Handmaids must submit to their Commanders as they hold the dominant role. The Handmaids are also sacrificing their bodies and fertility to their Commander and his wife in order to give them a child. They have all been renamed with names that signify the Commanders they serve: Offred, Ofglen, Ofcharles, Ofwarren, etc. These names show the Commanders’ possession of the Handmaids. In The Handmaid’s Tale, sex symbolizes the Handmaid’s sacrifice and submission and the Commanders domination and control over the Handmaids in
This act demonstrates that the handmaids have no agency over their bodies as they are reduced to a role of only being a reproductive vessel and are forced to endure this dehumanizing act. While the “Ceremony” is a fictional creation in the novel, there are many examples throughout history of governments and societies using sexual coercion and control to maintain their power over women including the comfort women system during the Second World War.
The handmaid’s tale is a book written by Margert Atwood. The story is narrated by the narrator’s protagonists. The narrator informs about the life in Gilead in which the commanders get a handmaid to breed for them since their wife’s cant breed and the society of Gilead needs reproduction. not only that, but there are different commanders and not every commander has a handmaid because some of them have wives that can breed children and have children of their own. There is different dress code for women in Gilead because the handmaids wear red, the wives of the commander wear blue, Martha’s wear green.
These texts demonstrate the societal issues involving oppression of women, women’s sexual role and their status. The Handmaid’s Tale depicts the rigid societal structure whereby women are forced to serve in various aspects and functions in the society. The boundaries of the context set are in Gilead, a totalitarian state dominated by Christian fundamentalists, indicating that Gilead enforces conformity among its citizens. In a simply put manner, one’s social position is fixed. The permanent social statuses are clearly evident from the colour-coding of the women wherein “some [are] in red, some in dull green of
Offred feels the loss of her identity because she and the rest of the Handmaids are defined by the red outfits they are required to wear and by their healthy reproductive systems. Without their individual identity, the Handmaids are forced to obey the roles required of them simply because they don’t have any other identity to claim as their
Atwood’s dystopian novel is a warning about the consequences of misogynistic, authoritarian governments. Her message seems to be universal since the subjugation of women by religious extremists, remains a concern in the present
In this written text, the emphasis will be on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale and as well as the way Atwood portrays women and how it can be argued to show the oppression of women. The main purpose is to analyze the way women are treated throughout this book and depict why they are represented this way in the society in Gilead. Then, comparatively, observe the men’s domination over women and how they govern this society. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are stripped of their rights, suffer many inequalities and are objectified, controlled by men and only valued for their reproductive qualities. The Gilead society is divided in multiple social group.
To begin with, the Handmaids are unfortunate women whose existence depends on their fertility. They lose all of their personal possessions, families, memories, and finally identities. They are renamed according to their relation to men and they must wear the same uniform, as they are objects
Secrets Held in The Handmaid’s Tale Essay In a utopian world in which the main character has to do what they are told, there would have to be secrets among the people around them. The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel by Margaret Atwood in which a Handmaid by the name of Offred lives in the home of her Commander and his wife and she, along with other Handmaids, have specific roles to play and are forced to do those roles. As a Handmaid, Offred has to lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, due to the fact that the story takes place at a time in which births are declining, the Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are fully functional. Secrets lead to guilt or mistrust in oneself as shown through Offred’s interactions with other characters, behavior changes of characters throughout the story, and by the significance of “Mayday” as used by Atwood. Secrets lead to guilt or mistrust in oneself as shown through Offred’s interactions with other characters because in the novel, Atwood writes “Perhaps it was a test, to see what I would do.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood demonstrates a quizzical protagonist, Offred, in a dystopian, totalitarian society where fertile women are only a mere vessel for child birth. Every month during Offred’s menstrual cycle her Commander, Fred, and his wife Serena Joy perform detached intercourse while Serena holds Offred’s hands. The handmaids of the Republic of Gilead are not allowed to use their mind for knowledge nor take part in formal society. They are but the vacuous-minded property to their Commanders and their infertile wives. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred discloses the day to day moments and her commicalOffred had once lived in a world where she was her own person with a job and a home with a family of her own but now she lives under unfortunate circumstances that disable her from being a true, soulful human.
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, argues that women are instruments of the patriarchy, that women know this, and that women allow the system of oppression to live on. Her fictions ask, “What stories do women tell about themselves? What happens when their stories run counter to literary conventions or society’s expectations?” (Lecker 1). The Handmaid’s Tale is told through the protagonist, Offred, and allows readers to follow through her life as a handmaid while looking back on how life used to be prior to the societal changes.
Both texts ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’ were written during the second wave of feminism which centralised the issue of ownership over women’s sexuality and reproductive rights and as a result, the oral contraceptive was created. As powerfully stated by Ariel Levy, ‘If we are really going to be sexually liberated, we need to make room for a range of options as wide as the variety of human desire.’ Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter both celebrate female sexuality as empowering to challenge the constraints of social pressure on attitudes of women. Both writers aim to expose the impact of patriarchy as it represses female sexual desire and aim to control it thus challenge contemporary perspectives of women by revealing the oppression
Works of literature often portray ideas relating to Marxist theory, this is why in a dystopian society, class distinctions dominate the social climate, using Marxist ideologies as a tool to define the lives of the narrator and those around her. In Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, ideologies from Marxist theory dominate the society in which Offred, the narrator, lives in, evidenced by the strict class systems and limited interaction between them. In writing the novel, Atwood makes a point to create a world that could exist using technology and ideas already accessible in today’s society, meaning the events that take place in The Handmaid’s Tale could happen in present day. Offred lives in a reality where class distinctions dominate society, and women, especially fertile women. These women are displaced downwards, although there are those women who attempt to resist the grip of society.