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Political Issues In The Handmaid's Tale

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In the 1980s, United States was experiencing the rise of conservatism. Under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, conservative religious groups were gaining popularity. In response to the social and political landscape, Canadian author Margaret Atwood published a fictional novel The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986; a genre of dystopian novels. The storyline projects an imaginary futuristic world where society lives under oppression and illusion of a utopian society maintained through totalitarian control. Dystopian novels often focus on current social government trends and show an exaggeration of what happens if the trends are taken too far. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the novel critiques gender inequality and autocratic authority. The hierarchical class of men consists of Commanders, Angels, and Guardians. In particular, the Commanders are the highest-ranking social group in Gileadean society. The Commanders are represented as powerful men. They have leadership roles, autocratic governance, and are oppressors controlling the Gilead regime. However,…show more content…
It projects a patriarchy of elite white men who repress the majority of the population through sexist and racist policies. In this puritanical state, Commanders are political leaders and lawmakers who support and contribute to the rise of Gilead. Each Commander possesses a big house, a Wife, Marthas, a driver, and a Handmaid, epitomizing wealth and power. The Gilead society uses Biblical allusions to justify the role of the Commanders. During the Women’s Prayvaganzas, the Commander expresses, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (221) where Eve was made as a helper and to complement Adam as a servant rather than function as an equal. The subjugation of women is evident in the Gilead system as each Commander is given a handmaid whose name is “Of” the Commander’s name. Handmaids have no identity of their own and are similar to sex slaves at the mercy of
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