The Fine Line Between Harlot And Handmaiden

907 WordsMay 8, 20174 Pages
The Fine Line Between Harlot and Handmaiden Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a warning to the world that by classifying women by their fertility and stripping them of their rights, one can easily create a terrifying dystopia where all fabrics of society suffer the erosive consequences of female subjugation. Women have forever been classified by their fertility and by their class, which has given us such terms as baron, matronly, harlot, fertile, the help, and surrogates. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale delves further into the classification of women which has been enforced by a theocratic government, as seen in many Middle Eastern nations. The divisions between the Wives, Marthas, Aunts, and Handmaidens has not…show more content…
56) reminisces Offred about ‘‘the time before, when men and women casually tried each other on like suits in hotel rooms.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. 56) The question serves as a stark reminder of the lack of freedom she is now living with. Margaret Atwood’s ominous warning to be grateful for what you have, is never clearer in the passage ‘’But now it’s the rooms themselves I miss … Careless, I was careless, in those rooms.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. 56) Offred is assigned a bedroom in the Commander’s home, but will not accept is as her own ‘’not my room, I refuse to say my.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. P.) The Handmaid’s Tale depicts exquisitely how lonely everyone is in the confines of their classifications. Offred is desperate to connect, but understands that a smile from the housekeeper who is called Martha would be too dangerous. When she arrives in her new house she seeks warmth from the new Wife, and is instead met with hostility ‘’Don’t call me Ma’am … You’re not a Martha.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. 17) The Commander’s Driver touches his shoe to hers, even though Offred is not sure if it is on purpose, she feels her ‘’shoe soften, blood flows into it, it grows warm, it becomes skin.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. 92) Even though all of these connections are illegal, and Offred is supposed to keep her eyes downcast, and her Handmaid’s uniform’s head wings blocks her line of sight ‘’they are to keep us from seeing, but also from being seen.’’ (Atwood, Margaret. 9)

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