Oppression In The Handmaid's Tale

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“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” a phrase in the novel meaning, “don’t let the bastards grind you down”. This phrase found in the closet pushes Offred to fight against the oppression within the society of Gilead. Margaret Atwood's, The Handmaid's Tale, narrated through the protagonist, Offred, a Handmaid who serves the purpose of reproducing, lets the reader know that handmaids are not allowed to have any verbal interaction with men or have the ability to read. The novel reveals how a patriarchal society leads to the oppression of women throughout the character of Offred, hierarchy, and symbolism. Atwood reveals oppression through the role that Offred portrays in the novel, which shows how a patriarchal society leads to oppression…show more content…
The unwomen are the lowest women in the hierarchy of Gilead. The unwomen are sent to the colonies were they “starve to death and Lord knows what all” (Atwood 10). The unwomen are the women who can not serve their positions in being a handmaid. The wives are ranked the highest in the female heiratchy. Serena Joy, the commander's wife, lets the reader know that handmaids are not in the top of the social class when she states, “ Don’t call me ma’am… You’re not a Martha (Atwood 15). She puts Offered in place by reminding her that their relationship is not the same as with the other higher ranking women. The Commanders are the highest men in the hierarchy of Gilead. Although, they are the highest, they are also the oldest. Offres goes on to describe the commander as "His hair is gray. Silver, you might call it if you were being kind” (Atwood 57). This description illustrates a visual on the reader to give an idea of how old the man is. The Guardians of the Faith are the lowest rank in the society of Gilead. Luke, the guardian, lives in the household garage. Offred lets the reader know that he if low status, “he hasn't been issued a woman”( Atwood 18). Luke is oppressed by the society of gilead because he has not been assigned a women when the others have. This shows that patricary leads to oppression…show more content…
As previously stated, the hierarchy of Gilead assigns roles to citizens. These roles can be identified by the color of clothing citizens of Gilead wear. For instance, Handmaids wear “the color of blood” (Atwood 8). She makes this metaphor to show the reader that she accepts the role she has in Gilead. Furthermore, they also wear red for the blood of parturition, from Mary Magdalene. In example, blue if for the Commander’s Wife. According to the introductory section in the book, the wives wear blue of purity, from the Virgin Mary. They compare these two to show that the wives are not allowed to bare children. The flower symbolizes fertility, as an object that can grow along women. The flower can symbolizes the society of Gilead, they had blame women for the fact that, “There is no such thing as a sterile man anymore…” (Atwood 61). The society of Gilead oppressed women because they stated that, “there are only women who are fruitful and women who are barren, that's the law” (Atwood 61). Indicating that there are only two types of women in society. This shows that patricary leads to oppression because the symbolism of the color of the women, it portrays their class rank and role in society. In conclusion, the novel The Handmaid's Tale, revealed how a patriarchal society leads to the oppression of women throughout the character of Offred, hierarchy, and symbolism.. Offred's character showed the reader
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