Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid Tale Essay

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In a society where women are completely oppressed they have two choices: To conform and survive, or to rebel and risk execution. Conformity would entail suppressing their morals and their personal rights to adapt to Gilead’s social standards. Would one choose self-inflicted isolation by disassociating oneself as a human being to survive, or gain more rights and disregard all morals by working for the government? This society is represented in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale. The novel is set in the Republic of Gilead, a dictatorship, formerly known as the United States of America. The government controls all aspects of the lives’ of its citizens, with its harshest regulations directly affecting women. Gileadean women are divided into seven classes based on hierarchy and identified by the color of their clothing. However, “They are not divided into functions. They have to do everything; if they can” (Atwood 24). The commanders’ wives wear blue. Their responsibilities are to bear children, and if they are not able to reproduce, they are to take on a handmaid and stay loyal to their husband. Aunts wear brown clothing, they work for Gilead, enforcing, teaching, and supervising the handmaids; urging them to accept their new way of life. The Marthas clothe themselves in green dresses and aprons. They are the household servants, in charge of the cooking and cleaning. Handmaids wear red, symbolizing their fertility. Their sole responsibility is to bear the Commanders’

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