The Caste System In The Handmaid's Tale

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Throughout the world, many people are discriminated based on their social standings such as jobs, wealth, authority, and race; however, in India, there has been a strict social structure that has impacted the country for hundreds of years. This social structure is known as the caste system. Members of Indian society are divided into castes, also known as jati, which from the time they are born greatly influence and shape the rest of their future (India- Caste and Class). The origins of the caste system present in India are debated greatly among many historians. Different theories and stories about the origins of the caste system have been told and past down through the years. The most popular theory about how the caste system began entails…show more content…
The Handmaid’s Tale is a clear example of a society divided by classes. Each person in the book is divided into a part of society that has a specific role. The wives and commanders are the heads of the society while the econwives and econohusbands are the lowest part of the society (Atwood). These examples from the book demonstrate the Indian Caste System perfectly. The wives and commanders can be seen as the Brahmins, the maids and angels represent the Kshartyia in the Indian society, the handmaids and guardians are the equivalent of the Indian Viasya caste, and finally the econowives and econohusbans are the untouchables of the society. In The Handmaid’s Tale, like in the caste system of India, each caste is treated differently and worse and worse as it goes down the list. The divisions of the society are easily noticeable by what each color the class of society is forced to wear. In the novel, the wives wear blue, the handmaids wear red, the husbands wear black and so on. Another novel that shows an aspect of the Indian Caste system is A Brave New World. In the novel, the society members are born into one of five castes: Alpha, Beta Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon. The Alphas and Betas are about 1/9 of the population in the novel while the remaining 8/9 are the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Each caste is conditioned to be a little less physically and intellectually impressive (Huxley). In A Brave New World just like The Handmaid’s Tale, the different members of the caste are recognizable by the color of clothing they are required to
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