Misogynistic Societies Essay

905 Words Oct 31st, 2012 4 Pages
Misogynistic Societies

Although written in different time periods and in dissimilar settings, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy are both feminist novels with main characters who are suppressed by their societies. Misogyny is fully apparent in both novels, and both Offred and Tess utilize similar means to endure their harsh societies. A misogynistic society is clearly depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale. In Offred’s society, the handmaids’ only role in society is becoming pregnant. When Offred is going to the Commander’s house, she states, “We are two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices” (Atwood 136). Because the Republic of Gilead is suffering from low
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When Tess tells Angel about her past, he gets angry and leaves for Brazil, even though he has confessed to the same sin. “In considering what Tess was not, he overlooked what she was, and forgot the defective can be more than the entire” (282). He only saw one side of Tess and chose not to see her faults, which caused a major break in their relationship when he finally came to realize that Tess, just as everyone else, has faults. Because of their restricted, difficult lives, Offred and Tess often find ways to cope with their situations. Offred’s companionship with various people around her is an escape from reality, as well as a diminutive act of rebellion. After talking about how frightening and “loose” Moira is, Offred claims, “Nevertheless Moira was our fantasy” (Atwood 133). Moira is secretly a hero to many of the handmaids and Offred is somewhat able to experience the excitement and rebellion vicariously, through Moira. Also, Offred’s companionship with the Commander helps her survive. When talking about the commander, Offred says, “To him I’m no longer merely a usable body. To him I’m not just a boat with no cargo, a chalice with no wine in it, an oven – to be crude – minus the bun. To him I am not merely empty” (163). Once she realizes that the Commander actually cares for her and doesn’t think of her as an object, she becomes hopeful and starts believing that she might have a chance. Likewise, Tess utilizes her friendship with Marian, Izz,
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