While Offred is walking outside one realizes that the women can always be recognized of what they are by what they are wearing. “There are other women with baskets, some in red, some in the dull green of the Marthas, some in the striped dresses, red and blue and green and cheap and skimpy, that mark the women of the poorer men. Econowives, they’re called. These women are not divided into function. They have to do
Gilead, the isolated city in which Offred lives, is described as a shelter from the war. However, the wall that protects the citizens from the outside world is decorated with corpses that are hung on display. The wall confines the citizens from any outside interactions whatsoever. At one point, Offred says that she wishes there were “no boundaries; as if [they] were free to shape and reshape forever the ever—expanding perimeters of our lives. I was like that too.” In the past, Offred remembers how everyone yearned for expansion, learning new things and going new places. She tries not to stay on the topic, but there is a longing tone that infers that Offred does in fact miss her old life. All of the freedom she used to have. All of the power that she took for granted. All of the women that Offred interacts with in Gilead are shy in a secretive way. In another instance, when Offred sees the tourists who didn’t dress
The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a dystopia, Gilead, where women are reduced to nothing more than Handmaids (surrogates), Marthas (maids), and Wives (housewives). Within their new social caste, the women are only allowed to do the single task assigned to them. Women with jobs, an education, and choices are a thing of the past. The laws in this society are designed to protect women yet in order to do so they are stripped of their rights. In this passage, the narrator, Offred, reminisce the days when she was more than a walking uterus. Her sense of self-worth in the Gilead is dissolving as she compares her current worth to what she had before. This passage makes her question whether the Gilead’s laws, though misguided as they may be, are truly in her best interest or their own. She is trying to see how putting women on a pedestal results with their
People always think of the future as a better place to go and be a part of, but as Margaret Atwood says it best in The Handmaid’s Tale “better never means better for everyone… it always means worse, for some” (Atwood 211). Atwood portrays a fictional futuristic dystopia, where women have limited education, limited freedoms, and more responsibilities. Atwood uses literary devices such as character development, setting, motifs, conflicts, symbolism, flashbacks, and theme to express the repression and lack of freedom that is experienced throughout the novel.
“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.
The uncomfortable disadvantage of the wings’ forced tunnel vision immerses the reader into the “reduced circumstances” (Greene 158 ) faced by Offred and other handmaids in the novel so that he or she also participates in Offred’s journey as she explores an unfamiliar world. Greene also claims that Offred is also portrayed as a woman of inaction, especially when contrasted with figures like her mother, a feminist who participated in pornography riots, and Moira, who broke protocol in the Rachel and Leah Re-Education Center in acts of rebellion and ultimately, escape. She rarely shows any outward reaction to the wretched crimes being committed around her and instead resorts to “lying low” until escape presents itself. However, there are also subtle elements of Offred’s rebellion that Greene seems to be ignoring. Offred, who clearly shows her disgust in the regime through her narrative, resists its efforts by maintaining her humanity and remembering the past, instead of letting the censorship and propaganda of Gilead brainwash her. Additionally, the very existence of a novel from the point of view of a handmaid, in the regime where handmaids were forbidden to read, write, or freely speak, is an act of rebellion in itself.
Even this is as usual, now. We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn 't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”(56) Offred actively defines her passivity, ignoring the fact that the America that she used to know had changed dramatically. She normalizes every event around her like the fact that watching people being hanged on the wall are just daily sightseeing, she avoids the uncomfortable truth of Gilead, intentionally refuse to revolt against the dictatorship regime. Interestingly, there is a quote on ignorance that I 'd like to share “Being ignorant is like being dead, you don’t know that you are dead, only people around you suffer.” Additionally, in chapter 13, Offred was sitting in the bath, visualizing her body while naked ”I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will . . . Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping.”( 91) She changed her opinion of her only property-her body from a device, her womb as a “ national resource” to a “central object” ,”glows red” like the sun which surrounded by planets. She glorifies herself because of her ability to bear a child. As well as denying the truth, interpret handmaids as a pivotal class in the society, not oppressed women whose womb are
In “The Handmaids Tale”, author Margaret Atwood vividly illustrates the repulsive society of Gilead, that is strictly regulated by a Theocracy. In a Theocracy both religion and the government is one entity that rules under the teachings of the Bible and God. In Gilead, every inhabitant has an occupation based on gender and class that they must entirely devote themselves too. The authoritarian rule of Gilead disciplines many characters into being docile, obedient and submissive in consequence of modified communication. Gilead is able to drastically change and maintain order in this society by the manipulation and alteration of phrases. Through the perception of color, defined phrases and biblical ceremonies is that Gilead is able to suppress an entire society. Gilead imposes compliancy to a Theocracy by the use of the colored uniforms, defines freedom, biblical references and objects such as a wall.
The Handmaid's Tale, a film based on Margaret Atwood’s book depicts a dystopia, where pollution and radiation have rendered innumerable women sterile, and the birthrates of North America have plummeted to dangerously low levels. To make matters worse, the nation’s plummeting birth rates are blamed on its women. The United States, now renamed the Republic of Gilead, retains power the use of piousness, purges, and violence. A Puritan theocracy, the Republic of Gilead, with its religious trappings and rigid class, gender, and racial castes is built around the singular desire to control reproduction. Despite this, the republic is inhabited by characters who would not seem out of place in today's society. They plant flowers in the yard, live in suburban houses, drink whiskey in the den and follow a far off a war on the television. The film leaves the conditions of the war and the society vague, but this is not a political tale, like Fahrenheit 451, but rather a feminist one. As such, the film, isolates, exaggerates and dramatizes the systems in which women are the 'handmaidens' of today's society in general and men in particular.
Paula Hawkins, a well-known British author, once said, “I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.” In Margaret Atwood’s futuristic dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale, a woman named Offred feels she is losing control over everything in her life. Offred lives in the Republic of Gilead. A group of fundamentalists create the Republic of Gilead after they murder the President of the United States and members of Congress. The fundamentalists use the power to their advantage and restrict women’s freedom. As a result, each woman is assigned a specific duty to perform in society. Offred’s husband and child are taken away from her and she is now forced to live her life as a Handmaid. Offred’s role in society is to produce a child
Form, Structure and Plot: The novel has 15 parts, 46 chapters, and 378 pages. The novel has a series of flashbacks and dream sequences that take the reader from Offred’s life in the present and her past life with Luke (her husband) and her daughter. The story is hard to follow because you do not always know what will trigger her flashbacks. The novel only covers about two years in the present, but the flashbacks cover the year leading to the present, and the historical notes jumps to 2195.
The Handmaid's Tale is written by Margaret Atwood and was originally published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. The novel is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of a new totalitarian theocratic state society that is terrifying and horrific. Its main concentration is on the subjugation of women in Gilead, and it also explores the plethora of means by which the state and agencies gain control and domination against every aspect of these women's lives. Restrictive dress codes also play an important factor as a means of social order and control in this new society.
A Critical Analysis of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” In this dystopia novel, it reveals a remarkable new world called Gilead. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood, explores all these themes about women who are being subjugated to misogyny to a patriarchal society and had many means by which women tried to gain not only their individualism and their own independence. Her purpose of writing this novel is to warn of the price of an overly zealous religious philosophy, one that places women in such a submissive role in the family. I believe there are also statements about class in there, since the poor woman are being meant to serve the rich families need for a child. As the novel goes along the narrator Offred is going between the past and
Offred's memories are a way for her to escape a society riddled with hopelessness. The authoritarian society of Gilead prevents her from
Offred smoothly introduces this ruling by the government by describing each persons’ colored garments that symbolize their place in society. She states, “There are other women with baskets, some in red, some in the dull green of the Marthas, some in the striped dresses, red and blue and green and cheap and skimp, that mark the women of the poorer men. Econowives, they're called. These women are not divided into functions. They have to do everything; if they can” (24). With Offred’s narration, Atwood provides her readers with a hierarchical understanding of the city of Gilead. By providing different colors, the author is able to express the division within the dystopian society. Red is for Handmaid’s, who are prized for their fertility, a dull green is for domestic servants, to symbolize hard work and servitude, and a variety of colors are given to women who are owned by poorer men, as a symbol of no respect for women. It is apparent to the reader that the Gileadean regime believes in a society where people are only considered as a collective group rather than a society composed of individuals. With this belief, the regime tries to assimilate each citizen into certain social roles, and thus limit all individual identity. In an academic journal entitled, “Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale as a Multidimensional Critique of Rebellion”, Asami Nakamura