Social Groups In The Handmaid's Tale

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Handmaids are one of the many social groups in “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Other social groups include Commanders, Marthas, econowives, guardians and many more. But the most information and detail is give about the Handmaids, since the entire story is told from the viewpoint of a Handmaid named Offred. To understand the significance the Handmaids one has to first understand the role that Handmaids play in the society of “The Handmaid’s Tale”. They are the only women capable of reproduction and have therefor been forced to dedicate their lives to that single purpose. By many this is seen as a privilege, but the way Offred describes it in the book it is more of a burden. Because Handmaids are so unique and valuable, they are a very highly regarded…show more content…
For instance the guardians see the Handmaids as a high ranking member of society and therefor show them the appropriate respect. The marthas as I mentioned earlier don’t think much of Handmaids and often gossip about them behind their backs and generally show an unwelcoming attitude towards them, this can be traced back to jealousy. Jealousy of how much respect is shown towards Handmaids and the freedoms, however small, they are given. Even something as insignificant as going for a walk and buying groceries is a freedom, that Marthas can only dream of. As to why Commanders Wive’s have feelings of hate or even disgust towards Handmaids is relatively clear. Handmaids come into their house, sleep, eat and have sex with their husbands, which the wives are not allowed to do. To make matters even more unpleasant, the wive of the respective Commander has to be present and part of this so called ‘ritual’, that takes place once a month. The wive has to have the Handmaid lay on her lap as the Commander has sex with her. A quote from page 104 about Serena Joy shows how unpleasant this ritual is for her and that how tries to hurt Offred even though she isn't allowed; “The rings on her left hand cut into my fingers. It may or may not be
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