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
“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body”. When Margaret Sanger spoke these words, she was expressing her belief on a woman’s right to have an abortion. This quote, however, speaks to the fact that women are oppressed on more than just abortions. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Atwood portrays the dehumanization of sexuality through both the characters and events within the novel, therefore proving that women will always be considered less than men will.
Often, we see a society’s cultural values reflected in its citizens. For example, the United States values equality, a standard that is shared in all facets including gender. The opposite is true of Gilead, a fictional society in Emily Bronte’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel’s main character, Offred, is subjected to degrading treatment simply because she is a woman. It becomes apparent that this repeated degradation has affected the protagonist’s mind. Through first-person point of view and the motif of eyes, Brontë establishes the effects of Gilead’s patriarchal society on Offred’s psychological and moral traits, revealing that the only way to survive in an oppressive society is to outwardly conform.
“Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors,” -Evelyn Cunningham. During the early 20th century, society’s expectations of women were tremendously different than how they are currently in the 21st century. Women were expected to be submissive to the men around them and had to listen, obey, and serve them. Prominent examples were represented in Ernest Hemingway’s stories, “Cat in the Rain” and “Hills like White Elephants.” Both of the well-known short stories were written in the 1920s and depict the mistreatment of women. Hemingway wrote, “Cat in the Rain” and “Hills like White Elephants” which characterized and represented women as silent, submissive victims who were oppressed
In the Handmaid 's Tale power is used to control the women and sort them into certain gender roles. Each women in the society of Gilead is assigned a certain job that is stereotypical of a woman 's job such as cooking, sex, and reproduction. These women are the lowest class in Gilead and have no control. The men have superior power of the women but the women such as Ofgeln and Offred gain control in power in their lives.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood 's dystopian classic, The Handmaid 's Tale. The novel is told from a first person account of a young woman, Offred. In an age of declining births, she is forced to become a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, the imagined future in the United States. The Handmaids are to provide children by the substitution of infertile women of a higher social status. Through the creation of different characteristics of female characters – ones who are submissive yet rebellious, and like to take advantage of their power - Margaret Atwood portray themes of love, theocracy, rebellion, and gender roles.
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. This society is governed by men, the Commanders with the assistance of Aunts, then comes the Wives, Handmaid’s and Moira. Gilead was formed as a response to the dramatic decreasing birth rates, thus women called Handmaid’s are used to rejuvenate the population. How and why are different social groups represented in a particular way in The Handmaid’s Tale?
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. Offred initially feels a sense of loss due to her position as a fertile woman since the independence and individuality she once enjoyed has since been stripped from her by the Republic of Gilead. It is only through rebellion that Offred is able to slowly regain her sense of self and reject the role that Gilead forces her into. By rebellion, however, it is often more dangerous for the perpetrators than to the government’s grip on the people. Offred’s societal role as a handmaid in Gilead forces her to first obey, then causes her to question, which finally allows her to realize her
There are two ways people will react to when their freedom is taken away. They will either accept it or rebel against it, which is what a lot of the female characters in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale accomplished. Shown through Offred’s repetition of certain events, Moira’s tone of being a fighter, and Serena Joy’s desperation, the reader can see that lack of freedom leads to rebellion.
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), presents several controversial yet realistic themes that can be linked to many social justice issues in today’s society. One central point that is highlighted throughout the novel is the objectification of women. In Atwoods novel women transition from normal citizens in society, to baby birthing machines. Women no longer acquire the respect, authority, freedom, and power that men have in the world of Gilead. This objectification that the handmaids are exposed to can be seen all throughout our environment, and there is no limit to where it can occur. At work, schools, on television news, in magazines...women are enclosed in this ideal image and set of standards that is far off from the average
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. Through the use of biblical allusions and specific word
In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the Republic of Gilead actively represses women by forcing them into very narrowly defined, ultra-conservative gender roles. This totalitarian government strips women of all rights and protections, and imposes severe punishments for defiance. Pollution and disease had caused severe infertility in this society, drastically reducing birth rates. In an effort to reverse a drastic population decline, this thoroughly misogynistic and power-hungry regime, takes full control over the human reproductive process. Furthermore, the leadership uses various dehumanizing methods to achieve complete subservience of women to men. Some of these methods include destroying identity through classification, objectification, and indoctrination. Most women of Gilead are sufficiently repressed that they seem to accept their assigned roles, at least outwardly resigned to their fate. Atwood uses gender roles in The Handmaid’s Tale to show the lengths to which misogynistic totalitarian governments will go, to protect their dictatorships.
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. The novel is set in a dystopian future that illustrates the collapse of the US government, a new theocracy taking over, and how the theocracy has supposedly solved the problem of fertility with the creation
cultural constructs of femininity, identity, and the extent of government control. The story explores the affects social and political trends have on society. The Handmaid’s Tale evaluates gender roles and the subjugation of women. Atwood’s use of aphorisms, symbolism, and allusions urges readers to examine the juxtaposition of cruelty and vulnerability in femininity.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. She is well-known for being a poet, novelist, inventor, essayist, and an environmental activist. She 's a feminist this is important because in her novels she often portrays the female characters being oppressed and rebelling against stronger males. Attwood is very interested in environmentalist issues and one of her main themes for her novels, particularly ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ include men interfering nature. The Handmaid’s Tale is about a totalitarian society set in Gilead which used to be apart of the United States. Gilead is ruled by fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state, and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In the opening chapters, the handmaid’s lives are presented as just property of the state.