Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Analysis

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Response Assignment “We two legged wombs, That’s all: scared vessels, ambulatory chalices” (Atwood 171). In Margret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, the repression of women is the main subject of satire. Atwood satirizes this subject effectively by using irony, and setting the story in a dystopian world. Firstly, Atwood successfully satirizes the repression of women because she effectively uses a dystopian world to convey her message. Right from the get go, we quickly learn that there is a hierarchy in the Gileadean society. Atwood describes a prison like gym, in which our heroine, along with many other women trapped in. This not only skillfully establishes a dark mood that looms over the dystopian society, but it also reveals…show more content…
Her message is that if we continue to ignore the mistreatment of women, our society will look like the society of Gilead. Atwood’s use of irony is most prominent in the historical notes section of the novel. After reliving Offred’s horrific experience of repression in Gilead, we are presented with a group of scientist who are studying Gilead’s society many years after Gilead’s extinction. Atwood vividly describes the dangers and horrors of a society that subjugates women through Offred’s narrative. However, when studied by the scientist, they are insensitive and patronizing to the subjects of their research. They say, “Our job is not to censure, but to understand” (Atwood 376). Frankly, these scientists do not care about the abuse women of the Gileadean society were put through, nor do they condemn Gilead for doing so. In fact they find it rather amusing, when a scientist mentions the underground femaleroad he parodies it and refers to it as the underground frailroad, evoking laughter from the crowd. It is ironic because this is the exact behavior Atwood warns us against. Viewing this problem that plagues the present world in such a facetious manner is sure to doom humanity. This is a brilliant use of irony, because it shows the reader that if we dismiss this subject like these scientists, then the formation of a society like Gilead is closer than we expect. So, we must not diminish the validity of this topic, of the repression of women. Instead we should be aware of it and halt this type of
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