It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle. It differs completely from the society, which was once the place in which Feminists argued for liberation from the traditional gender roles. The Handmaids Tale portrays that of a totalitarian society, and reflects a dystopia, which goes on to explore the interaction between sexuality and politics.
The novel, Handmaid’s Tale, was written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. The text is centered around Offred, a woman subsided into a role of inferiority and lead into a series of events surrounding the limitations of The Republic of Gilead. The Republic of Gilead, previously known as the United States, is totalitarian government concealed as a religious one as it uses forceful methods to control its people. These methods constructed the only acceptable social paradigm input, ones where Atwood wrote in form of historical and cultural allusions. Furthermore, it is a reflection of the author’s world and her belief system on how they would morph and adapt to an extreme scenario.
The novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a story about a society set in a future world where women’s rights have been revoked. Many values change with this new regime of controlled women and strict laws. Despite the changes in the world it maintains many conservative, religious beliefs while also containing liberal, feminist beliefs simultaneously. Society in the futuristic world of Gilead is structured heavily off of readings from the Bible and traditional views of gender that have been in place for a long time. An example of the Bible being an important part of society is the idea of the Handmaids came from a passage in the Bible about two women, Rachel and Leah.
According to Angelo Codevilla, “Each culture is largely defined by the ways in which men and women within it come together to raise children, and each regime defines itself substantially by how it affects those ways… But every regime affects families by making the conditions in which they live” (Codevilla 169). In Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of Butterflies (1994), referred to as ITTOB henceforth, which is a historical novel set in the Dominican Republic, family is the impetus behind revolution. The regime becomes the decider of the fates of individuals as well as their families, and in response the family becomes the main reason to resist the repressive regime.
Another well known and higher ranking classes are the Wives. The wives hold a certain amount of power by being married to the commanders ( the commanders are the husbands to the wives. Whom are a higher social class for men.) The wives are the major role which played in creating the religious laws and the classes in the Gilead society. The last and one of the lowest classes are the Handmaid’s, whom play a large role in the society of Gilead with
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, power is defined as “possession of control, authority, or influence over others. ”Although it is customary to see power in straightforward terms such as government or parenting, in The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood explores the different limitations and locations of power in society. From the perspective of Offred, a handmaid, the novel tells of a dystopian society called the Gilead, where the people are defined by labels according to designated power and fertility. Atwood is able to expose the diverse range of power through the system of government created, the dynamic of members of a household, and the social interactions between people.
In her essay, “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton argues that although men and women were created equally, men have oppressed woman's inalienable rights. Stanton supports her argument by giving examples on how women are seen as their husband’s property in society with the goal of convincing women that they must fight the government in order to gain the rights that should have been given to them at birth, allowing them to vote, divorce and liberty. Her purpose is to show how women have been repeatedly usurped by men in order to make the audience aware of how far Americans have gone to oppress women in society and to show that America is not as great as it seems to be. Stanton establishes a contemplative tone with
The conflict in the dystopian novel arises from the central idea of the novel, an idea that becomes a commanding passion and moves the plot ahead. Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale revolves around the revival of religious fanaticism and how this conservative totalitarian theocracy has made its citizens more or less captives. Thus the novel becomes the study of survival. Similarly Huxley builds the plot of Brave New World on the idea of staying human in the high-tech and materialistic society. Huxley 's vision moves on the premise whether the satisfaction of material wants and mindless pleasures would overpower the
The women all want to fight for their rights to have the same rights as men. Feminism in A Thousand splendid suns - While reading the novel I could see at the beginning of the novel that this novel can be examined with a feminist lens. The first thing that I saw in the novel is that the main character of the novel is played by a young girl (Mariam) as well as a girl who is growing up in a less fortunate condition. While reading the novel it was obvious that in “A Thousand Splendid Suns” men have authority over women, domesticity, which states that women belong at home, and the representation of elderly women as bitter, and
In the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, the reader is presented with depictions of many aspects of Brontë’s own life. The novel is a classic example of a Bildungsroman, written in the Victorian period, and many characteristics are focal in the text, one of which was of course gender inequality, as men seemed to rule the society in which Jane Eyre lived in. A woman couldn’t be successful in this period without a powerful man. Jane Eyre however, sought to prove everyone wrong as she attempted to abolish the rules of this Victorian society. “The novel suggests possibilities for gender subversion within a seemingly normative romance narrative” (Godfrey, 2005).
Language is the most powerful tools in connecting between the author and the readers. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood uses word choice and sentence structure to expose that the shocking cultures of Gilead society are built upon foundations of sexism. Additionally, with the use of double entendre, Atwood emphasizes the theme throughout the novel: the presence of power. Atwood shows Gilead society is a corrupted place where people seek to break the rules and to show power through the action between the Commander and Offred.
In face of severe situation, people often feel relief when they think of happier, simpler times in order to alleviate the severity. In the fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, a theocracy government controls every aspect of life in order to produce the best result of its plans. At the beginning of chapter 12, Offred takes a required, but luxurious bath because she can take off the burdensome wings and veils. While she bathes, Offred remembers her daughter from the past and a time with her family. Atwood compares Offred’s past and present through imagery, tone, similes, and symbolism combined with parallel structure to highlight the vulnerability of women to their surroundings.