Examples Of Power In The Handmaid's Tale

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Power is not corrupt, people are. It’s evidently shown that in The Handmaid’s Tale those who thrive on greed and control will do whatever it takes to achieve their greatest desires, even if it means stripping away freedom and humanity from others. In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the Gileadean society dehumanises women as a tactic to gain control over them. Language, power, sex, and religion are means used to strip away individualism, all to create a twisted version of a perfect utopia. The leaders of Gilead understand what it takes to be human, language being a central part of identity. All the answers you need are all provided to you in Gilead. There isn’t room for independent thoughts, or any questioning. Censorship is seen …show more content…

The forerunners of this society, rather, the Sons of Jacob use the book of Genesis from Christianity to twist around the words written in it and justify their abusive treatment of women. Afterall, Genesis does mean the beginning. The leaders of Gilead call themselves the Sons of Jacob because of Jacob’s story in the book of Genesis. Jacob takes his wives, Rachel and Leah (and their handmaids) to begin a new society named Gilead. Jacob would have all the authority, being the ultimate patriarchal figure (Genesis 31: 21-22). Sounds familiar. The heads in Gilead take this, and run with it. The Bible does not preach about oppression or reigning with an iron fist. Yet that is ignored, skillfully by the Sons of Jacob. Then they use the story of Jacob's wives to show why the handmaids are treated as such. In the book of Genesis, Rachel and Leah compete over who can provide the most children for Jacob. Rachel cannot continue having any, so she suggests that her handmaid, Bilhah should have sex with her husband and carry their children (Genesis 30: 1-3 NIV). The Bible is not saying to go and enslave an entire population of fertile women to turn into handmaids and follow the story of Rachel and Leah, but that is what they do. Throughout the society in the Handmaid’s Tale, religious prayers and words are taken out of context, and are used in day to day life. A regular greeting between handmaids is “Blessed be the fruit.” It is derived from (Luke 1:42) and the actual words are, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”. Essentially, they greet each other with reminders of how they are only worthy due to their working wombs. In return, a handmaid would say, “May the Lord open”. It is in reference to Rachel and Leahs story as their wombs are referred to as ‘open’ or ‘closed’; ‘open’ meaning the prime time to try for children. Handmaids reply with how they hope that they are viable for birth in return to the first

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