In the book A Handmaid’s Tale passivity is a common theme throughout Offred’s journey as a handmaid. In this context, passivity is allowing others to do things to you without complaining or pushing back to protect oneself and to keep oneself safe from harm or cruel treatment. There are several instances in which Offred is forced to be passive in order to please the people who have Offreds life in their hands. In the position that Offred is in as a handmaid, she is expected to do as her commander and the wife of her commander instructs her to do, and if she does not comply to these orders, no matter how unusual or unfair, she faces severe punishment or even death in the worst of cases. Just like Offred there are several other women who are forced to call Gilead home that must be passive in order to stay alive. So, generally speaking, the people of Gilead are so passive about the way that they are treated because this is the only way for them to continue to survive. Offreds passivity is something that is touched on several times throughout the novel, but she does not just learn this skill on her own, but is taught by a woman named Aunt Lydia. “Aunt Lydia said it was best not to speak unless they asked you a direct question. Try to think of it from their point of view she said, her hands clasped and wrung together, her nervous pleading smile. It isn’t easy for them.” (Pg. 14) Here, Aunt …show more content…
One of these tasks is something called the ‘ceremony’ which is the time in which the handmaids are used for their purpose of attempting to reproduce and carry a child. “I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven't signed up for. There wasn't a lot of choice but there was some, and this is what I chose.” (Pg.
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The structure also implies a robotic speaking tone, meaning the character has been forced to abandon some sense of emotion, and that is demonstrated in the way she is describing her surroundings. It supports the idea of how the new society is forcing human nature to change. “Think of it as being in the army, said Aunt Lydia.” because that is what is has become, a battle of the fittest, of who is fertile and who is
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. As chapter 33 begins, the Handmaids are off to the Women’s Prayvaganza (a portmanteau of pray and extravaganza). The event, juxtaposed to the ‘fun festival’ it resembles, is really a mass wedding with girls as young as fourteen married off to Angels (troops).
The Handmaid’s are not only not allowed to touch the Commander during the process; they are not even allowed eye contact. This portrays the idea that the Handmaid’s are only there to provide sexual stimulation for the man, and is not allowed to take any sort of pleasure in the act. The Handmaid’s must remember, “For him …I am only a whim.” (Atwood 159). Another example of sexual dehumanization during the Ceremony is when Offred is “serviced” beforehand.
Conformity in the Handmaid’s Tale A Japanese proverb says, “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. As seen in several historical events such as the Salem Witch Trials or the Holocaust, this concept illustrates the idea that nonconformity will get punished or suppressed. During the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler’s populist regime led to subservience out of fear because resistance was too dangerous.
She knows that there are laws, but she is so desperate that she is willing to break them by suggesting this to Offred, “Maybe you should try it another way”(Atwood 204). She encourages Offred to break the law and have sexual intercourse with another man and plant it as the commander’s child. Her desperation make her take desperate actions and how she achieves to rebel against the government. The Commander the one above all and on top of the official classification of Gilead-Men. He has power and in control of the household.
One of the factors used by the characters in the two novels for their survival is conformity. An example of conformity that plays an important role in the two novels is clothing. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the classifications of each individual are conformed by different clothing. The Handmaids wear red dresses, Marthas wear green, Wives wear blue, Ecowives wear stripes dresses of the three colours, and Commanders and the Angels wear black clothing. According to Offred from The Handmaid's Tale, “The wings too are prescribed issue; they are to keep us from seeing, but also from being seen” (Atwood 9).
The Handmaid 's Tale is one of Margaret Atwood most famous novels written during the spring of 1984, when the Berlin wall was still standing. Atwood creates a dystopia, which mostly consists of gender gap and oppression. The Handmaid 's Tale effectively portrays the United States as the modern-day totalitarian society of Gilead, which was illustrated as perfect by using the book of Genesis. Although the authors ideas are inherently and completely fictional, several concepts throughout his book have common links to the past and present society which the author herself calls a speculative fiction. The author uses a totalitarian system which includes aspects of Soviet system, to describe, deprivation, repression and terror with the use of
Conflict can be described as the struggle between two opposing forces, whether the forces being person vs person, person vs self or person vs society. Good examples of conflict can be found in almost any book. Margaret Atwood’s novel, the Handmaid’s Tale is a source of all three types of conflicts. The Handmaid’s Tale is about a society where females are given specific duties and are restricted from reading, writing, talking to others and looking at themselves in mirrors. The protagonist, Offred whom is also the narrator in the novel faces conflicts with herself, with other people, and the society that she lives in.
For instance these Upper class men, commanders, use handmaids to reproduce because their “wives” can no longer reproduce. In Gilead, women are only faulty and so if they cannot become fertile or produce a viable child then they get shipped off even though the men could
Dystopian novels have an entrancing factor that allows them to captivate the American public like no other genre. The mass popularity gained by these novels can be seen dating all the way back to 1950’s with the publishing of George Orwell’s 1984, and through the present day with the publication of various dystopian novels such as Divergent, Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games. The main reason why these dystopian worlds resonate with so many people is because they address present day problems in outlandish but conceivable ways, "whatever its artistic or philosophic qualities, a book about the future can interest us only if its prophecies look as though they might conceivably come true. "(Beauchamp). While The Handmaid 's Tale focus on a variety of issues, such as the mistreatment of women, it also realistically illustrates the mental deterioration that occurs during prolonged periods of isolation in captivity.
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.
Symbolism can be defined as the use of symbols that an author uses to suggest more than the literal meaning of the object .Symbolism often allows the reader to understand the text better and connect with the story on a different level. In The Handmaid’s Tale, symbolism can be seen in various parts of the novel. One of the most common type of symbolism that can be identified in the text is through the use of colours. One of the most obvious symbols in the novel is the uniform that every Handmaid is supposed to wear.
Strength is the word that comes to my mind when describing the book, The Handmaid’s Tale. This theme is seen throughout the book which is seen in Offred the majority of the time. In Gilead strength is what pushes her through each day. I believe that Offred is not the only one who shows strength, but many other women in the story do as well. Offred has an enormous amount of strength when she is forced to have sex with the commander.
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 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.