Essay on The Dystopia in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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The Dystopia in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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
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The Commanders' characters show the reader how even men who do get privileges, such as ownership and the ability to read, are unhappy with the society.

Another example is Ofglen. Ofglen is Offred's shopping partner who is a member of Mayday, which is an underground organization dedicated to overthrowing Gilead. Although Ofglen and Offred are shopping partners, they hardly know anything about each other. Ofglen doesn't know if Offred is part of the resistance and asks her during one of their shopping trips. This is the conversation,

"'I thought you were a true believer,' [Ofglen] says.
'I thought you were,' I say.
'You were always so stinking pious.'
'So were you,' I reply.
'You can join us,' she says" (page 168).

This is the conversation where Ofglen tells about her part in the resistance. Ofglen is an important character in Awood's creation of dystopia because she is the one who adds the idea that there are multitudes of people who hate the way the republic is handling things. She is the one who says that there is an underground resistance and that by trying to make a better world, Gilead has actually made things a whole lot worse.

Offred's character is required because she gives flashbacks to the time before Gilead, giving the reader an idea of the events leading up to the beginning of the novel. How bad the world before Gilead sounds, the world of Gilead is much worse.
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