In The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, there are many moments that establish Gilead, the fictional world the novel is set in, as a corrupt society. Gilead is incredibly segregationist, with minorities and women specifically being targeted. It has an incredible lack of reproductive rights for women, and sexual shaming and blame are very prevalent. Margaret Atwood herself stated that she based The Handmaid's Tale only on events that have happened in the past, so aspects of the novel will always exist and can happen again (Atwood Emma Watson interviews). Like Atwood predicted, themes in this novel are still relevant in today's society.
In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the Republic of Gilead actively represses women by forcing them into very narrowly defined, ultra-conservative gender roles. This totalitarian government strips women of all rights and protections, and imposes severe punishments for defiance. Pollution and disease had caused severe infertility in this society, drastically reducing birth rates. In an effort to reverse a drastic population decline, this thoroughly misogynistic and power-hungry regime, takes full control over the human reproductive process. Furthermore, the leadership uses various dehumanizing methods to achieve complete subservience of women to men.
Satire is often described as the use of humor, irony, or exaggeration to criticize someone or something. The Handmaid’s Tale was written shortly after the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. With concerns regarding the possibility of reversing everything that feminists have accomplished, Atwood writes of a story that examines and criticizes what a protestant puritanical society would be like. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are oppressed due to Gilead’s perverted perception of Christianity and the bible which can be seen when Aunt Lydia twists passages of the bible to conform to their agenda. Atwood shows a contemporary society with repressive views when taken to their logical extremes, in this case, extreme right wing ideology.
Both novels depict totalitarian societies. The worlds of The Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World are governed by totalitarian party or group which strictly monitors most aspects of the lives of their citizens. This imposing form of totalitarian government is heavily present throughout both novels that sacrifice individual rights in favour of the interests of the ruling group. Gilead takes it even further, denying the integrity not only of the individual person, but also of the human body. Women in Gilead are important only
This can be seen in one of her most renowned novels: “The handmaid’s Tale”, published in 1985 and which portrays the life in Gilead, a new society which emerged after a group of rebels assassinated the President. This is an oppressive society, which controls the life of all its citizens, and especially the life of women. As a result of a decline in birth rates, the government decided to designate some fertile women to men of the high society, in order to have children for them and their wives. The novel is a clear example of a dystopian world, in which people have no freedom; individuality is erased, and those who are against the ruling class are murdered. The author presents various themes throughout the novel, using different motifs and symbols.
The Handmaids Tale portrays that of a totalitarian society, and reflects a dystopia, which goes on to explore the interaction between sexuality and politics. (Conboy 349-362) As the saying goes, 'history repeats itself.' If one of the goals of Margaret Atwood was to prove this particular point, she certainly succeeded in her novel The Handmaid's Tale. In her Note to the Reader, she writes, " The thing to remember is that there is nothing new about the society depicted in The Handmaiden's Tale except the time and place. All of the things I have written about ...have been done before, more than once..." (316).
In Atwood’s novel, symbolisms of sex, flowers, and color add to the development of the novel and the deeper meaning of the plot. In The Handmaid’s Tale, color is often mentioned while describing clothing. Each individual in Gilead wears a certain colored uniform that is symbolic of their role in
Furthermore, the author displays a dystopian society completely dominated by a totalitarian and theocratic state. The main subject of this novel is the role assigned to women, mainly represented by the handmaids. In Gilead, the made-up country where the novel takes place, women are completely subjected by the government, and especially by men, who clearly have a higher status than women. Moreover, women’s freedom is entirely restricted, as they cannot leave their house at their will, they are forbidden to hold properties or jobs, they cannot read or write, and they are treated as sexual slaves whose only purpose in life is to bear children for elite spouses. The other option is a miserable, short life at the Colonies (a type of concentration camp), and death.
In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, colour symbolism is important, as it provokes abstract thoughts or concepts that help us understand the novel better. The colour that stands out the most is red. It is a significant symbol throughout the novel. To begin with, the red outfits the Handmaids are forced to wear cover their entire body. “Everything except the wings around my face is red: The colour of blood, which defines us” (Atwood, 8).
This character is derived from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood’s novel reveals that hunger for control can lead to the oppression of women, this is demonstrated through the Commander’s characterization, the Aunts attitudes, and some of the Gileadean rules/laws. Having the world at the tip of their fingers, and having men still feeling as if that is not enough, is the reason for the oppression of women in this novel, this is shown through the Commander’s characterization. In this scene, the Commander is explaining to the protagonist, Offred, that men felt as if everything were too easy to take hold of. Creating this new society was more for the pleasure of men than women.