Racism And Classism In The Handmaid's Tale

746 Words3 Pages
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. 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). As Offred states on page 274, “Start them soon, is the policy”. When our narrator reaches the location of the Prayvaganza, a “banner
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