The Handmaid’s are only seen as useful ‘asset’, the term ‘assets’ referring to their ability to still bare children, to the community and the couples. Offred describes what the Commander is doing to show the reader that she is not apart of what is going on, her body is being used, but her mind and soul is very far from what is happening. The Handmaid’s are all used in the same way, they are all being subjected to cruel treatment by the couples that they are being sent out to. The women are used as tools to repopulate society and the women are ignored as human beings. The only time the women are acknowledged by the couples is on the night of the ceremony when the women become ‘useful’. Furthermore, the women are also made to wear wing like blinders on their heads so that they could not look at any other men or be distracted by anything. They were to go straight to the shops they are told to, then straight home. They are also dressed in full red dresses so that everyone else would know what they were. The Handmaid’s are dressed in this way because they are processions of the men they are ‘working’ for. They are even named after the men they stay with; the Commander’s name is Fred; therefore, his Handmaid is named Offred to show that she is ‘Of Fred’. The women are given no choice in the matter, and their personal and emotional needs are over looked time and time again because the
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.
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
Handmaids are subjected to specific gender roles in the women community. Each women in the community has a certain job that most men assume is the woman 's job. Handmaids are for the use of reproduction and there is suppose to be no emotion or spiritual connection with these ladies. Martha’s who are used for cooking and cleaning among the house and lastly, jezebels who are used for erotic sex. Each of these women who fall among the categories have no choice of their field. “You wanted a women 's culture. Well, now there is one. It isn’t what you meant, but it exists. Be thankful for small mercies.” (Atwood 124) Offred is looking back on her past life to a story her mother once told her. This phrase resonates with Offred because in her past life women were free and now the culture is no longer the way it was but has reformed to be under the power of men and it’s kinda hopeful for offred because her mother is right there is a culture not at all what any women would want but their gender has some power. Offred and her good friend Ofglen both are part of the underground system to free themselves. When Ofglen saw the truck coming for her she made the decision to commit suicide. “ She is a flag on a hilltop, showing what can still be done: we too can be saved.” (Atwood 287) This was a powerful statement because it showed that Gilead cannot control all the women. That Of Glens suicide was not sad or self-wallowing but rather a form of rebellion. Offred found hope in this event by seeing If Glen 's death as a salvation for herself or other girls under the power
Rebellion; the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood is a novel. The novel takes place in Gilead a dystopian society. Everyone in Gilead has an important role to play within the society, however, it seems as if none of the characters seem content with their role, due to the restrictions they face. In the novel, the lack of freedom leads to rebellion as shown by the characterization, interior dialogue, flashbacks, and foreshadowing.
The Commander and the Aunts claim that women are better protected in Gilead, where they are treated with respect and kept safe from violence. However, while Gilead claims to suppress sexual violence, it actually institutionalizes it. An example is Jezebel’s, the club that provides the Commanders with prostitutes to service the male elite. Another example is the Ceremony that compels Handmaids to have sex with their Commanders. Foster suggests, “...sex can be pleasure, sacrifice, submission, rebellion, resignation, supplication, domination, enlightenment, the whole works” (158). The Handmaids must submit to their Commanders as they hold the dominant role. The Handmaids are also sacrificing their bodies and fertility to their Commander and his wife in order to give them a child. They have all been renamed with names that signify the Commanders they serve: Offred, Ofglen, Ofcharles, Ofwarren, etc. These names show the Commanders’ possession of the Handmaids. In The Handmaid’s Tale, sex symbolizes the Handmaid’s sacrifice and submission and the Commanders domination and control over the Handmaids in
Handmaid’s whom are the fertile women in the Gilead society, are stripped from all freedom and rights, banned from knowing any form of literature and have to be submissive to men, allowing their bodies to be sexually used to produce children. In contrast, women who are not fertile such as Wives have their freedom taken away too as they are confined to doing assigned jobs around the house. In contrast, the Aunts and the Commanders are shown to have the highest rankings in the Gileadean society. They are powerful figures, with privileges such as the Aunts being allowed to read and write and the Commanders being permitted to get married and have a handmaid's assigned to
In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood demonstrates a quizzical protagonist, Offred, in a dystopian, totalitarian society where fertile women are only a mere vessel for child birth. Every month during Offred’s menstrual cycle her Commander, Fred, and his wife Serena Joy perform detached intercourse while Serena holds Offred’s hands. The handmaids of the Republic of Gilead are not allowed to use their mind for knowledge nor take part in formal society. They are but the vacuous-minded property to their Commanders and their infertile wives. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred discloses the day to day moments and her commicalOffred had once lived in a world where she was her own person with a job and a home with a family of her own but now she lives under unfortunate circumstances that disable her from being a true, soulful human. Through the use of biblical allusions and specific word
To begin with, the Handmaids are unfortunate women whose existence depends on their fertility. They lose all of their personal possessions, families, memories, and finally identities. They are renamed according to their relation to men and they must wear the same uniform, as they are objects
From the outset, literature and all forms of art have been used to express their author’s feelings, opinions, ideas, and believes. Accordingly, many authors have resorted to their writing to express their feminist ideas, but first we must define what feminism is. According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”. As early as the fifteenth century is possible to find feminist writings. Centuries later, and although she never referred to herself as one, the famous English writer Virginia Woolf became one of the greatest feminist writers of the twentieth
The novel is set in the Republic of Gilead which is formerly the United States of America. The name comes from a place from the Bible. It is a totalitarian, theocratic government. First, it is totalitarian which means that the government had control over every aspect in its citizens’ lives. This is why the government could dictate even the private lives of the people. It dictated how the handmaids spent their time, and how people interacted with each other, and also what goes on during the Ceremony. If the people did not follow, they could be reprimanded, or even worse, hung on the wall for everyone to see. Nothing was too personal for them not to delve into, and everything was under their
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
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.
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
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.