What would become of the world, if our current societal flaws, such as sexism, racism, and classism were ingrained and executed at a systematic level? This is exactly what The Handmaid’s Tale set out to explore. The novel, which claims to be speculative fiction, is set in the theocratic Republic of Gilead (formerly the USA), where birth rates are rapidly declining and women have been marginalized by the patriarchal regime, forbidden to read, write or love and valued only if they are able to procreate. They are separated into classes, including Wives, Marthas, Aunts, Unwomen, and Handmaids, distinguishable only by the color of their clothing. The Handmaids are renamed by combining ‘of’ and the name of the Commander that they have been assigned to, stripping them of any individuality.
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the protagonist, Offred, expresses her wish that her “story [is] different,” that it is “happier,” or at least “more active, less hesitant, less distracted” than it is ultimately portrayed (267). However, as her story is told, these characteristics are evident in the way she talks and acts, especially around those with authority. Hesitant to express her true thoughts and feelings, and distracted by memories from her previous life, Offred attempts to piece together her role in the society that has taken her freedom. The result is a compilation of moments, of memories, both from her present, her past, and even speculation about her future.
In Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Moira is depicted as the symbol for resistance to authority and represents hope to the Handmaids. Atwood presents her as a polar opposite to Offred. She is independent, strong-willed, and outspoken. Conversely, the pair can be argued to be doubles in the fact that they both ‘resist’ to the oppressive Republic in Gilead.
Works of literature often portray ideas relating to Marxist theory, this is why in a dystopian society, class distinctions dominate the social climate, using Marxist ideologies as a tool to define the lives of the narrator and those around her. In Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, ideologies from Marxist theory dominate the society in which Offred, the narrator, lives in, evidenced by the strict class systems and limited interaction between them. In writing the novel, Atwood makes a point to create a world that could exist using technology and ideas already accessible in today’s society, meaning the events that take place in The Handmaid’s Tale could happen in present day. Offred lives in a reality where class distinctions dominate society, and women, especially fertile women. These women are displaced downwards, although there are those women who attempt to resist the grip of society. Offred initially feels a sense of loss due to her position as a fertile woman since the independence and individuality she once enjoyed has since been stripped from her by the Republic of Gilead. It is only through rebellion that Offred is able to slowly regain her sense of self and reject the role that Gilead forces her into. By rebellion, however, it is often more dangerous for the perpetrators than to the government’s grip on the people. Offred’s societal role as a handmaid in Gilead forces her to first obey, then causes her to question, which finally allows her to realize her
Margaret Atwood wrote about a fear that lives with many, not having any freedom. Offred is one of the thousands of people who have had their freedom taken from them. Her life revolves around keeping others content and doing what she is told, but she begins to get bored and curious. When this occurs, Offred begins to break the rules due to temptation which helps her realize everyone is doing so. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, demonstrates that a lack of freedom leads to a breaking of rules.
There are two ways people will react to when their freedom is taken away. They will either accept it or rebel against it, which is what a lot of the female characters in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale accomplished. Shown through Offred’s repetition of certain events, Moira’s tone of being a fighter, and Serena Joy’s desperation, the reader can see that lack of freedom leads to rebellion.
Outward conformity along with inward questioning, that is what the main character, presented in Margaret Artwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, has to undertake in order to survive in a theocratic society. Stepping out of line in any way risks your life, so in a place where freedom of speech and basic human right’s no longer apply, Offered must comply with whatever rules they have in place and pretend to agree with the system, but in the inside, she cannot help but think about her past life, her husband, her daughter, before everything began. Flashbacks are integrated in the novel to not only compare the old society with the new one, but to also demonstrate this fake conformity Offred has to display to others and her internal struggle with giving up on escaping the Republic or just accepting her fate and playing by
Furthermore, the author displays a dystopian society completely dominated by a totalitarian and theocratic state. The main subject of this novel is the role assigned to women, mainly represented by the handmaids. In Gilead, the made-up country where the novel takes place, women are completely subjected by the government, and especially by men, who clearly have a higher status than women. Moreover, women’s freedom is entirely restricted, as they cannot leave their house at their will, they are forbidden to hold properties or jobs, they cannot read or write, and they are treated as sexual slaves whose only purpose in life is to bear children for elite spouses. The other option is a miserable, short life at the Colonies (a type of concentration camp), and death.
In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Offred has a continuous search for justice for her daughter, in a society in which her idea of justice is starts as one concept and changes to one that she never expected. Margaret Atwood writes Offred as a character who was at once strong-willed, and who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Her strength is dimmed at first, when her daughter and husband are first taken from her. Her strength, however comes back in full force when she finds the opportunity to get justice for her daughter. Offred uses the motivation of her daughter to spur a rebellious side of her that disappeared when the new leaders came into power.
The suffocating society of Gilead is presented where individualism is completely taken away from them, and what it means to be human has been completely eroded away from what we know today. To be human today means, to be honest, affectionate, caring, understanding and to have passions. However, being too passionate for something only leads to chaos as seen through Victor 's overpowering desire for knowledge that led to chaotic results. Offred 's identity and individualism have been completely stripped away from her as he legal rights, name and clothes have been destroyed. She 's just another cog in a machine as she is labeled as a handmaid, only valued for her "viable ovaries".
Offred is suspicious of what the handmaid 's did. She looks at their hands, and a clue is given to her when she sees “black gloves”(Atwood 275). She ponders what they could have possibly done to have warranted such action from the authorities. Her speculation shows how the society of Gilead functions. The government of Gilead wants the handmaids to see that the prisoners are being hanged, as their suspicion is how Gilead gains control of them.
Rebellion in The Handmaid’s Tale Imagine not being able to do what you used to do because some actions are forbidden in this new society. In the Handmaid's Tale, Gilead is a dystopian society where people are limited to certain actions. Throughout the story, Offred’s actions are rebellious because she has broken so many rules. Atwood demonstrates that restricted expression leads to rebellion by showing the Commanders and Offred’s affair developing throughout time and the actions of both characters.
In this written text, the emphasis will be on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale and as well as the way Atwood portrays women and how it can be argued to show the oppression of women. The main purpose is to analyze the way women are treated throughout this book and depict why they are represented this way in the society in Gilead. Then, comparatively, observe the men’s domination over women and how they govern this society. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are stripped of their rights, suffer many inequalities and are objectified, controlled by men and only valued for their reproductive qualities. The Gilead society is divided in multiple social group.
In the Handmaid 's Tale power is used to control the women and sort them into certain gender roles. Each women in the society of Gilead is assigned a certain job that is stereotypical of a woman 's job such as cooking, sex, and reproduction. These women are the lowest class in Gilead and have no control. The men have superior power of the women but the women such as Ofgeln and Offred gain control in power in their lives.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Atwood 's dystopian classic, The Handmaid 's Tale. The novel is told from a first person account of a young woman, Offred. In an age of declining births, she is forced to become a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, the imagined future in the United States. The Handmaids are to provide children by the substitution of infertile women of a higher social status. Through the creation of different characteristics of female characters – ones who are submissive yet rebellious, and like to take advantage of their power - Margaret Atwood portray themes of love, theocracy, rebellion, and gender roles.