Government In The Handmaid's Tale

Powerful Essays
The amount of power a government should have has been and always will be a controversial topic. In The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian fiction novel by Margaret Atwood, the government of the Republic of Gilead is incredibly powerful. The protagonist, Offred, is a handmaid in this theocratic state that has replaced the United States. A handmaid’s sole purpose in society is to have children for elite couples who cannot conceive a child. In Gilead, women have no freedom, as they are constantly watched by the government and have to follow extremely restrictive laws. The novel takes place in the future and is in first person point of view, as Offred illustrates what life is like for a handmaid in Gilead. Offred serves the Commander and his wife, which…show more content…
In Gilead, the government made it a priority to take away individuality from women. Women cannot work, go to school, or read and write, and are each assigned very basic, specific tasks, such as having children. In that aspect, the society seems to be outdated instead of in the future, as women used to have menial tasks before they became equal. For Offred, her only job is to have children, as reproduction is a necessity in Gilead. However, even though Offred has a different job than other people, she is still restricted from having individuality. In the article The Significance of the Individual in Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Rinawmi discusses one aspect of how Offred is the same as the other women, analyzing how “the eye on her ankle is an ever present reminder that her body is under surveillance, that it is a tool over which an outside force has power” (Rinawmi 3). The tattoo of the eye on her ankle displays how the government is always watching her, and as everyone has that tattoo, she is limited from having individuality. In addition to lacking individuality, women are emotionally disregarded. For Offred, her sole purpose is to reproduce, so she is treated as property and not a human being. In the article The Portrayal of Sexism in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Yazdani discusses how the government manipulates women, describing how “by silencing women and taking all sorts of power from women, Gilead society remains in control. Women are like birds that are kept in cages to stop them from flying. And the authorities make women believe that this society is very secure for them and they are protected in this way of living” (Yazdani 3). In Gilead, while the government tells women that what they do is to protect women, they essentially just strip women of everything that makes them an emotional human being and turns them into a
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