Foster suggests, “...sex can be pleasure, sacrifice, submission, rebellion, resignation, supplication, domination, enlightenment, the whole works” (158). The Handmaids must submit to their Commanders as they hold the dominant role. The Handmaids are also sacrificing their bodies and fertility to their Commander and his wife in order to give them a child. They have all been renamed with names that signify the Commanders they serve: Offred, Ofglen, Ofcharles, Ofwarren, etc. These names show the Commanders’ possession of the Handmaids.
The handmaid 's tale is a dystopian fiction novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1984. It is a bestselling book and was an instant classic. The plot behind the book is a terrifying one, women no longer have rights and are forced by the controlling government to become essentially baby makers and nothing else. Margaret Atwood borrows heavily from biblical texts to demonstrate societies and people being controlled by religion. Margaret Atwood has scattered so many biblical references throughout her novel.
In the Handmaidens Tale women are a minority. In a world where women are seldom fertile, but nonetheless preyed upon and mistreated, life is shown as a horrible burden upon the female part of society. Methods are utilized by the author to employ this, but the moreover important aspect of my critical response is to understand what Atwood means to bring across. My thesis statement in turn being; The Handmaidens Tails wants to show the aspects of feminism and female rights, which are slowly beginning to be taken for granted in the modern day. In the totalitarian and theocratic state of Gilead, Woman who are fertile and thus still retain the ability to reproduce, are assigned to a Commander – A high ranking military official of the Gilead society.
The patriarchal society, most of the time, is one of the important reasons behind turning the women bodies into objects with having control over their bodies. However, the most arguable question is: is there a way out? Can women survive these oppressions that resulted from objectifying heir bodies? In The Handmaid’s Tale, Mayday came to Offred’s rescue, but as what she said it is an vague way out: “whether this is my end or a new beginning I have no way of knowing: I have given myself over into the hands of strangers, because it can’t be helped.”
However, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, shows how religion is used to create fear in order to control the people of Gilead and maintain order within the society. Nevertheless, most, if not all, characters have been insubordinate towards the laws of Gilead. Through the characterization of both the Serena Joy and The Commander and the brothel in which the Jezebels are in, it proves that rigid influences in society leads to corruption/wrongdoings.
Thus, there is no sisterhood and women will be forced to bond and accept their Commander. Therefore, they are not equal to the other groups such as the Commander’s Wives or the Marthas and the Econowives. Moreover, the protagonist of Atwood’s novel titled The Handmaid’s Tale is a member of the Handmaid group. The protagonist of Atwood’s novel is Offred. Her name means that she is under the property of a man named Fred.
In The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, there are many moments that establish Gilead, the fictional world the novel is set in, as a corrupt society. Gilead is incredibly segregationist, with minorities and women specifically being targeted. It has an incredible lack of reproductive rights for women, and sexual shaming and blame are very prevalent. Margaret Atwood herself stated that she based The Handmaid's Tale only on events that have happened in the past, so aspects of the novel will always exist and can happen again (Atwood Emma Watson interviews). Like Atwood predicted, themes in this novel are still relevant in today's society.
From my personal research, the events in the novel were influenced by negative situations that involved the American society prior to the 1980’s. These negative aspects of Gilead’s religious society in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ were drawn from similar issues facing the American public prior to the 1980’ s. These issues were based on religious concepts that were thought to greatly improve the American population's standard of living. The main ideas that influenced the creation of certain events and
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. Throughout the novel, aphorisms play a large role in depicting the role of women as subservient to their male counterparts.