1) Throughout our course, there have been some incredible and powerful women characters and writers. From Granny in “Jilting of Granny Weatherall” to Delia in “Sweat”, all of their stories had powerful connotations and influences in the readers. First of there was Phoenix from “A Worn Path,” she is the protagonist of this tale and is described in a lively way by the way she moves. Welty said, “Under the red rag her hair came down on her neck in the frailest of ringlets, still black, and with odor like copper.” The rag in her hair, her skin, and even the wrinkles on her face are deeply expanded upon in the story and accentuate her character.
It isn’t love” (58). Offred reveals that she does not feel any love for her Commander, although she is supposed to hate the man she is forced to have sexual interccourse with, she knows its not not hate or love. The wives of the Commanders are present during the time of the sexual intercrouse, the humiliation the Handmaids are put through further reveal how women are oppressed in Gilead; however, the Handmaids are not the only women who suffer through this awkward moment, the wives must deal with other women having sex with their husbands. The narrator awaits for a letter that seems to be crucial to her as that message is what essentially keeps her
In the “Historical Notes,” it is revealed to the reader that The Handmaid’s Tale is a text that exists in the fictitious world it details when Professor Pieixoto states, “I wish, as the title of my little chat implies, to consider some of the problems associated with the soi-disant manuscript… which goes by the title of The Handmaid’s Tale,” (Atwood 300). The significance of this truth goes beyond merely putting the story into perspective, but it denotes a victory for Offred. Throughout the text, she discusses her reluctance to recount the past: “I am trying not to tell stories, or at any rate not this one,” (50). Her newfound lack of freedom to dispense her time without idling makes the past when that lack of freedom was an abundance of it seem all the more painful; she cannot abide remembering the life she now lusts for. Yet, she manages to do more than that; Offred is able to not only indulge in these thoughts that seem forbidden to her, but she is able to record them on tapes for other generations.
The novel, The Handmaid's Tale, centers on a woman named Offred. She is abused of her body when she gets constantly raped in order to provide a child from her Commander and his wife. It burdens her life daily. Many literary elements are revealed through the novel such as symbolism ….. That come together to affect the story, and the reader.
One day mysteriously her friend had that she walked around with in her free time had been replaced. But when Offred spoke to her she said her name was Ofglen but it was not her and Ofglen decided not to say anything because she know she should not trust anyone. This is another example of women not being respected. Offred cannot even have friends in the grand scheme of things.
In the Handmaid’s Tale, the former university is turned into a prison run by the secret police. Dissidents are executed and hung on the walls of the university to show as a warning for any other citizen if they think about committing heresy. “The wall is hundreds of years old too; or over a hundred at least. Like the sidewalks, it’s red brick and must once have been plain but handsome” (Atwood 31). This shows that the wall has been around of a long time and hasn’t always been used for hanging.
Meanwhile, Penelope’s society has imprisoned her in another planet until she can see herself through the eyes of her fathers. Both governments use manipulative propaganda and the appearance of deliverance, to subjugate Moira and Penelope, resulting in different reactions from the women. Moira, in The Handmaid’s Tale, experienced manipulative propaganda during her time at the Red Center through the lessons taught by the Aunts who enforce the doctrine of Gilead on the Handmaids. The reader learns that Moira resides in an environment in which “The chances [of having a healthy baby] are one in four [and] the air got too full, once of chemicals” (Atwood, 112). The pollution in the air affects the Gilead birth rate and causes birth defects, resulting in the Gilead having to create and manipulate Handmaids through propaganda.
When Handmaid’s Tales and real life are have a toll on women since they are being denied of their rightful rights. It still happens still around the world but in the book, women are not allowed to read, and like in some cultures in today’s world too. Women in the book have to be escorted to a place so for some reason to keep safe. Women in Handmaid’s Tale also have not allowed to hold a position with power in the book. Everyday women around the globe are being denied of their rights even when they know their rights.
With the rules of Gilead, Offred and many other handmaids struggle between oppression from societal rules and autonomy. In the beginning of the novel, Offred is assigned to a Commander’s house and although she is forced to be submissive, she thinks that a knife she sees is “sharp and bright, and tempting ” revealing her hidden thirst to revolt against her position (47).
Fearing and trying to prevent a rebellion, the Commanders make unsupervised interactions with anyone nearly impossible, remove anything that could be used in suicide attempts, and limit all access to reading materials. Try as they might, their tactics are of no use when in comes to the more resourceful handmaids and wives who are able to use their influence to bend the rules made by the superior men. Offred’s first meetings with the Commander demonstrate her ability to communicate with others in order to have what she wants. Although Offred is nervous during her first encounter with the Commander alone, she eventually grows more comfortable with playing Scrabble and reading magazines with him.
Furthermore, contemporary feminism, in the time of Margaret Atwood and The Penelopiad, is based on equality and freedom of choice (Howells 2003). Finally, with both Classical Greek female and contemporary female views in hand, Margaret Atwood fuses them to create an identity for Penelope that goes beyond ‘woman’, ‘mother’, and ‘wife’ (Howells 2003). Homer does show improvement in his representation of women in The Odyssey through some of his descriptions of Penelope, however, Margaret Atwood took his small sacrifices to female worth and turned them into a story that gives Penelope power, choice, and a voice she was never given before (Vandamme
Both texts ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’ were written during the second wave of feminism which centralised the issue of ownership over women’s sexuality and reproductive rights and as a result, the oral contraceptive was created. As powerfully stated by Ariel Levy, ‘If we are really going to be sexually liberated, we need to make room for a range of options as wide as the variety of human desire.’ Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter both celebrate female sexuality as empowering to challenge the constraints of social pressure on attitudes of women. Both writers aim to expose the impact of patriarchy as it represses female sexual desire and aim to control it thus challenge contemporary perspectives of women by revealing the oppression
The main theme in this story is women in subjection and how women’s bodies are used as political instruments. The theme of the book is something the author Margaret Atwood is familiar with. In many of her literary works she focuses on women and their situation. She has been writing about feminisms even before it was discussed about open. Like mentioned earlier The Handmaid's Tale was written in 1985, a time when feminism started to be spoken about in the 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