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. The protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale is referred to as Offred (of Fred). Through the manipulation of literary devices such as juxtaposition, allusion, and descriptive diction, Margaret Atwood voices her concerns about our future, and reveals just how quickly and completely our present could transform.
“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body”. When Margaret Sanger spoke these words, she was expressing her belief on a woman’s right to have an abortion. This quote, however, speaks to the fact that women are oppressed on more than just abortions. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Atwood portrays the dehumanization of sexuality through both the characters and events within the novel, therefore proving that women will always be considered less than men will.
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.
In today’s society, according to Jean Kilbourne, equality between men and women seem to be almost non-existent. As shown in Kilbourne’s talk series, it is widely believed that this is a man’s world, which had valid points. We are so used to seeing degrading images every day and degrading images of women that we simply overlook these things, which becomes normal in our lives. Advertising agencies surround us with this stuff day in and day out. Also seen in advertisements is sex portrayals which not uncommon to find. “Linking sex with violence in the most dangerous in ads” (Kilbourne). The objectification of women in our society is more established than many would like to believe. Women being portrayed as passive, easy,
Margret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a dystopian novel, that centres around the themes of corruption, oppression, and theocracy. Told in the first person, the novel follows the female ‘Offred’ in her daily life/activities and past experiences in the newly founded “Republic of Gilead”. 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
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. This society is governed by men, the Commanders with the assistance of Aunts, then comes the Wives, Handmaid’s and Moira. Gilead was formed as a response to the dramatic decreasing birth rates, thus women called Handmaid’s are used to rejuvenate the population. How and why are different social groups represented in a particular way in The Handmaid’s Tale?
existent. It is widely believed that we live in a man’s world. Even something as common
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.
In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the Republic of Gilead actively represses women by forcing them into very narrowly defined, ultra-conservative gender roles. This totalitarian government strips women of all rights and protections, and imposes severe punishments for defiance. Pollution and disease had caused severe infertility in this society, drastically reducing birth rates. In an effort to reverse a drastic population decline, this thoroughly misogynistic and power-hungry regime, takes full control over the human reproductive process. Furthermore, the leadership uses various dehumanizing methods to achieve complete subservience of women to men. Some of these methods include destroying identity through classification, objectification, and indoctrination. Most women of Gilead are sufficiently repressed that they seem to accept their assigned roles, at least outwardly resigned to their fate. Atwood uses gender roles in The Handmaid’s Tale to show the lengths to which misogynistic totalitarian governments will go, to protect their dictatorships.
The Figuration of the female body is well described in both Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Both novels show that the women bodies are not their own and controlled by others which it turned into an object in order to survive. In this paper, I would like to argue how the objectification of the female bodies in both novels resulted in their oppression and sufferings. Moreover, what is the definition of the figuration of a body to both Offred and Firdaus? And is there a way out to survive this tragedy in both novels?
Throughout history, women have often been subjected to prejudice and an inferior status to men. Due to sexist ideologies of men believing that women are not capable of controlling their own lives, women have often been reduced to the status of property. This concept is prominent in many pieces of literature to demonstrate the struggles women have to go through in a predominantly, male structured world. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, the author illustrates a woman’s battle in an extreme society ruled by men to express the misogyny occurring in the time period when it was written, 1894. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia summarizes Atwood’s story as one that “depicts one woman’s chilling struggle to survive in a society ruled by misogynistic fascism, by which women are reduced to the condition of property.” Although written 100 years earlier, this is also seen in the novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy, because both authors show the oppression of women through the experiences the characters go through and the means of survival they use. The two novels, The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, argues that women are instruments of the patriarchy, that women know this, and that women allow the system of oppression to live on. Her fictions ask, “What stories do women tell about themselves? What happens when their stories run counter to literary conventions or society’s expectations?” (Lecker 1). The Handmaid’s Tale is told through the protagonist, Offred, and allows readers to follow through her life as a handmaid while looking back on how life used to be prior to the societal changes. The novel is set in a dystopian future that illustrates the collapse of the US government, a new theocracy taking over, and how the theocracy has supposedly solved the problem of fertility with the creation
The objectification of women contains the act of ignoring the personal and intellectual capacities and potentialities of a female; and reducing a women’s value/worth or role in society to that of an instrument for the sexual pleasure that she can produce in minds of another. The representation of women using sexualized images that have increased significantly in the amount and also the severity of the images that’s been used explicitly throughout the 20th century. Advertisement generally represent women as sexual objects, subordinated to men, and even as objects of sexual violence, and such advertisements contribute to discrimination against women in the workplace, and normalize attitudes which results in sexual harassment and even violence
Often, we see a society’s cultural values reflected in its citizens. For example, the United States values equality, a standard that is shared in all facets including gender. The opposite is true of Gilead, a fictional society in Emily Bronte’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel’s main character, Offred, is subjected to degrading treatment simply because she is a woman. It becomes apparent that this repeated degradation has affected the protagonist’s mind. Through first-person point of view and the motif of eyes, Brontë establishes the effects of Gilead’s patriarchal society on Offred’s psychological and moral traits, revealing that the only way to survive in an oppressive society is to outwardly conform.
The Handmaid’s Tale Essay-How does Atwood’s portrayal of women compare to modern conceptions of women?