Dystopia Handmaid's Tale

1470 Words6 Pages
Dystopian novels are works of fiction written that depict a perfect society. Naturally, most of dystopian literature is about societies with an altered piece of society that the author deems insufficient in their reality. Margaret Atwood wrote a futuristic dystopian novel, ‘The Handmaids Tale’ about a society named Gilead. Atwood creates a dystopia in which sexuality is governmentally regulated. Due to a cultural shift of values, the Republic of Gilead had one goal: to control procreation to repopulate the earth. Gilead uses a distorted version of the bible to control society and have total rule over citizens. Many aspects are justified with biblical aspects from the book of Genesis. The idea that men are in power and women are at fault for…show more content…
The value of a woman comes from her ability to produce a child. Each category of women has a specific name which signifies the citizens’ role in Gilead that often derive from a biblical name, story, or idea. There is essentially one sect of women that are capable of bearing children, Handmaids. When a commander’s wife is barren the commander is brought a fertile woman to bear his child. These young, fertile women are “trained in deference, self-abnegation, and service” (Johnson and Stillman). Once a month they are obligated to go through, in Ofglen’s words, a “fucking” ceremony with the commander. Essentially, handmaids are reduced to their reproductive capability and seen only as a baby machine. Their identities are put in the fact they are handmaids and who they belong to. When a handmaid is assigned to a commander they receive an “of” name of their commander, for example, the narrator’s name was ‘Offred’ to signify that she is the commander’s property. The idea of Handmaids derives from the Biblical story of Rachel and Leah where fertile servants can have illicit relations to allow barren women, like the Commander’s Wife, to have children. At the Red Center, handmaids were taught to live by the verse “Give me children, or else I die” (Atwood 1). Even the dress code for handmaids are from biblical ideas. Handmaids are required to wear long, conservative…show more content…
While their personal identity is taken, they still maintain most of it due to the lax of rules compared to women. While many know that men have the capability to be sterile, per Gilead’s law, “there is no such thing as a sterile man […] There are only women who are fruitful and women who are barren” (Atwood 69). Due to the disbelief of sterile men, there are only a few categories that men are placed in: Commanders, Guardians, Eyes, and Angels. Commanders of the Faithful are at the ‘top of the food chain’. They command armies in the war, control the household, and have “fucking” ceremonies with handmaids to reproduce. Their name depicts that all citizens are faithful to God and Gilead. Commanders are most often old and sterile but are the only ones allowed Handmaids. Angels are the soldiers of the Republic of Gilead. These are the men that fight in the war to protect the citizens and values of Gilead. Angels have the ability to one day marry and become a commander with a Handmaid. Guardians of the Faith are the young, often teenagers, police force. They do routine work like man checkpoints or they cater to the needs of Commanders. As the name signifies, Guardians of the Faith protect and police the cities to ensure citizens are abiding by the laws of Gilead. While at a low position now, Guardians have the ability to move up the social ladder and become Angels. Eyes are the secret agents of
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