The Importance Of Power In The Handmaid's Tale

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According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, power is defined as “possession of control, authority, or influence over others.”Although it is customary to see power in straightforward terms such as government or parenting, in The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood explores the different limitations and locations of power in society. From the perspective of Offred, a handmaid, the novel tells of a dystopian society called the Gilead, where the people are defined by labels according to designated power and fertility. Atwood is able to expose the diverse range of power through the system of government created, the dynamic of members of a household, and the social interactions between people. The structure of Gilead is rigid, specifically designed to oppress and reinforce dominance. Throughout Offred’s perspective of events, it is always difficult to define who the main leaders of the society are. Because of this setup, those in top power can rule as they please without fear of anyone committing assassinations or rebellions. How could a person attack something or someone they do not know? Despite the lack of a main formal authority, the world of the Gilead have maintained the structure of their social system, enforcing importance based on one’s fertility. If a woman is sterile and is of low class, the society is able to rid of them by forcing them to …show more content…

Authority is enforced in the social structures of the Gilead and how people are treated based on their class. Control is established within the household amongst those in given power over those below them. Influence is manipulated amongst the handmaids over those with greater power in their interactions and needs. Atwood is able to bring power to readers’ attention in a variety of ways, ranging from straightforward to interpretive, guiding readers to question: Is power held in the perpetrator’s hands or the victim’s

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