Within the totalitarian society created by Margaret Atwood in the Handmaid’s Tale, there are many people and regimes centred around and reliant on the manipulation of power. The laws that are in place in the republic of Gilead are designed and implemented so as to control and restrict the rights and freedom of its inhabitants.
In a world where women are used merely as instruments of reproduction, ‘freedom of expression’ is punishable by death, and politics are claimed to be founded on religious beliefs, there doesn’t appear to be much similarity between the Handmaid’s Tale milieu of Gilead and our predominantly feminist and secular society. Despite this, the novel focuses on themes that have caused great controversy and debate. As a result, these concepts have become familiar to us and help connect with the story and characters despite the tremendous difference in context. The Handmaid’s Tale portrays and develops the themes of feminism/gender roles, political and religious views, oppression and sexuality to the extent that the reader in a modern-day setting is
The laws of Gilead dehumanizes women and takes away their rights as citizens to society. Gilead wasn’t always like that until the revolution overcame the town and took away women's rights. “In Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, women are totally under the control of male members of the patriarchal society; she describes a patriarchal society and reflects the political ideology in America of that time.” Women are downgraded without any authority and control by men. “Women are like birds that are kept in cages to stop them from flying. And the authorities make women believe that this society is very secure for them and they are protected in this way of living. They also make women believe that the new way is a better freedom and God will save them if they follow.” They are taking the laws made by Gilead and comparing
In Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear a transcribed account of one womans posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste.
Imagine living in a world where women’s rights are removed. Now imagine that people are forced to have encounters with each other in order to repopulate the world. This crazy fictional thought becomes reality in the book Handmaids Tale, by Margret Atwood. This book takes place in a society called Gilead. Gilead is a place where women are no longer considered human.
Unlike Moira, Offred is desperate to conceive the Commanderís child in order to survive. Both women parallel many women in todayís society. On one hand, there are feminists who rebel against society no matter what it costs. On the other hand, there are women who are just trying to survive and find their place in a society in which they are second class citizens. In the novel, Offred is torn between smearing her face with butter to keep her complexion and hanging herself. In the same manner, she is caught between accepting the status of women under the new regime and following her own desires to gain knowledge and fall in love. Offred doesnít know whether to accept the circumstances and die inside, or to fulfill her own desires, set herself free like Moira has done. The contrast between Moira and Offred reveals Atwoodís attitude towards women and their sometimes self-destructive submission. Atwood shows the oppression of women through the extreme setting of the story, but she also allows the reader to see how women passively oppress themselves.
In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Offred recounts the story of her life and that of others in Gilead, but she does not do so alone. The symbolic meanings found in the dress code of the women, the names/titles of characters, the absence of the mirror, and the smell and hunger imagery aid her in telling of the repugnant conditions in the Republic of Gilead. The symbols speak with a voice of their own and in decibels louder than Offred can ever dare to use. They convey the social structure of Gileadean society and carry the theme of the individual's loss of identity.
Gilead, the fictional country that The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in, is an exceedingly hypocritical society that constantly contradicts themselves. It declares women who are raped and objectified to be better off than they were in the prewar days when they were free. It is very desperate for people to reproduce and continue on the human race in Gilead, yet they kill people for simple crimes. It tightly restricts all forms of behavior by not allowing women and men alike to have any thoughts of their own.
“I feel thankful to her. She has died that I may live. I will mourn later” (Atwood 286). Many sacrifices and hard decisions are made by unorthodox people to keep what they believe in alive. There would be no rebellions and no change without these nonconforming people. Offred, the main character and a Handmaiden, would have faced eminent death in her strictly orthodox world had it not been for the rebelliousness of those who died before her wanting change. The Republic of Gilead, previously known as the United States, is a theocracy. Environmental events and population decline prompt changes. A caste system is created, and each caste performs specific duties. They are punished if the laws are not followed. The Eyes are at the top of the caste system; they make sure the laws are obeyed. Next are the Commanders and their Wives. The Handmaiden’s main task is to produce a child with their Commander. In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, some unorthodox characters challenge the theocracy such as Offred, Ofglen, and Nick.
Offred is a Handmaid in what used to be the United States, now the theocratic Republic of Gilead. In order to create Gilead's idea of a more perfect society, they have reverted to taking the Book of Genesis at its word. Women no longer have any privileges; they cannot work, have their own bank accounts, or own anything. The also are not allowed to read or even chose who they want to marry. Women are taught that they should be subservient to men and should only be concerned with bearing children. Margaret Atwood writes The Handmaid's Tale (1986) as to create a dystopia. A dystopia is an imaginary place where the condition of life is extremely bad, from deprivation, oppression, or
The setting of The Handmaid’s Tale – known as Gilead – is a totalitarian government, originally based on Old Testament patriarchy. This structure forbids rival loyalties or parties, so all loyalty must be for the group of men that
It is important to note that Offred forgets certain things that seem so normal to the reader. Within the new society, certain words are no longer to be used or said. This goes especially for women. For example ‘sterile’ is an "outlawed" word (161).When hearing her doctor say it during a routine checkup she is taken aback as she has forgotten it being in use. Handmaids also have a certain way they must talk and address each other. “Hello” is a greeting from the past and when the Commander greets her with it she is instantly nervous. “It’s the old form of greeting. I haven’t heard it for a long time, for years. Under the circumstances it seems out of place, comical even, a flip backwards in time, a stunt. I think of nothing appropriate to say in return.” (172). For something as basic as “Hello” to seem “comical” shows the reader how different Gilead is to the past. Also she cannot respond to the greeting, as she has forgotten it. Handmaids are also not allowed to write. When she finds a Latin phrase “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” scratched into her wardrobe she obsesses over it, wondering what it means and what the handmaid who wrote it might be like. All these things that would have been normal in her past life now excite Offred, they stimulate her. Because she has not seen or heard certain things since the formation of Gilead, they seem strange and foreign, similar to the effect
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale presents a possible gloomy future which we may one day see. In the book, the protagonist narrator named Offred, tells her handmaid life under a repressive regime which is based on religious fundamental ideas. The book creates a dystopia by reversing women’s rights. By doing so, it explores subjugation of woman and its results. This story leads us to examine what Feminism means and compare this to the situations of women living in the Republic of Gilead. The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian book, where women are sexual slaves and their basic freedom is taken from them in lots of ways. In this essay I will examine how women are being treated in the recent past and nowadays and how they are treated in Gilead.
The handmaid's tale is a novel which is written by Margaret Atwood. Atwood is a feminist writer from Canada. In this novel, she is creating an imaginary republic in US which is named "Gilead Republic". In this region there was a patriarchal system which is forced by the Gilead system. Also, Gilead republic was a hierarchical system highly differentiated roles, status ranking, and activities( Identity, Complicity, and resistance P. 71). Women did not have any rights because of the Gilead system. Only men were able to administrate in this republic, and they have all the authority, control, and power. Women were used just for sexual interactions, and giving birth. Gilead system was very violence with the handmaid's. After these actions some women begin to revolt against the Gilead Republic. This republic uses a