The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is set in a future time period where the United States is under the control of the Gileadean regime. A terrorist attack leads to the collapse of Congress, the suspension of the Constitution, and the establishment of a theocratic totalitarian government. Men and women are given roles within society; they are Commanders, Eyes, Handmaids, and Marthas. In this novel, Atwood explores a prominent social issue, feminism. The suppression and power of women are examined through the setting and characterization of the novel to help understand the meaning of the novel as a whole.
Sarah Tyrrell AP Literature Summer Reading September 11, 2015 The Handmaid’s Tale In her book, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Margaret Atwood describes a dystopian society in which all of the progress in the feminist movement that was made during the twentieth century is reversed and the nation is reverted back to its traditional patriarchal ways. The story is told from the point of view of Offred, a woman who was separated from her husband and child and forced into the life of a handmaid. In this book, Atwood explores the oppression of women through her use of literary tools such as figurative language, symbols, and literary allusions.
The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Attwood, goes on to explore the consequences that come to be from the reversal of womens rights in a society called Gilead. It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle. It differs completely from the society, which was once the place in which Feminists argued for liberation from the traditional gender roles. What women had worked hard for in the
The Republic of Gilead is a dictatorship in which men are the superior sex. Men are often in charge, much like the Commander, and are assigned women, one of these being the main character, Offred. Offred is a Handmaid, meaning her goal is to become pregnant, since if she is unable to she could be killed or sent off to the colonies and become what is called an Unwoman, this is yet another sign of power. Furthermore, women are constantly being watched and are often isolated from others due to the lack of freedom, this in turn makes women feel more inferior.
Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, satirizes the movement of religious conservatives that was occurring during its time of publication in the 1980’s. The beliefs expressed by these conservatives are taken to the extreme in the book when a totalitarian government creates a new society that reverses all advancements of women. Through these reversals and formed hierarchies, Atwood creatively makes a statement about the unfair molds in real life that both genders try to break free from. In other words, the story inflates the roles of men and women through the creation of strict regulations in order to show the discriminatory stereotypes that are a reality today.
Her body is completely in the hands of the Commander and his Wife. All she can do is sit still in humiliation and endure what is being done to her (Atwood 93). Furthermore, Offred is treated as the child of the household even though she is a fully grown woman. The Marthas will not discuss certain matters with her because she is dispensable. If Offred were to be replaced, punished, or transferred, their household information could possibly spread to other homes. Therefore, many things are purposely kept from Offred (Atwood 53). At one point, Offred shares her thoughts of stealing an item from the house. Offred is not a thief, but the lack of freedom is desperately driving her to feel a sense of rebellious power. If she can steal something, Offred will feel a sense of power and thrill that she has not received in a while. She carefully considers what she could steal and where she can hide it, but comes to the conclusion that feeling power such as that is too dangerous and risky (Atwood 81).
In the dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Offred is forced into being separated from her family members when Gilead is established. Afraid of descending into insanity as a Handmaid, Offred tries to forget about her past and the family she once spent all of her time with.
In the novel due to low reproductive rates, fertile females known as Handmaid’s are assigned to households where couples are having trouble conceiving a child. Offred who is a Handmaid is assigned to the household of The Commander; who is at the near top of Gilead’s hierarchical society. It is the very Commander who initiates a forbidden hidden relationship that violates the rules of the society, with Offred in the novel. The Commander at the very start of Offred’s placement is able to use his power to intimidate her before the
Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaids Tale, is a story of a dystopian society set in the land of Gilead. The premise of The Handmaids Tale is the creation a masculine dominated civilization in which not only are the rights of women oppressed, but the basic rights of humanity. Everything, even and up to sex, has been desensitized, which destroys the concept of family, as men have sex with and impregnate handmaids, not their wives, as a means of conception and reproduction. While the officials of the Republic of Gilead attempt to suppress all evidence of the past, it is impossible to do so. The novels main character, and narrative voice, is a handmaid named Offred. Early on in the novel, she describes her home in this future, tyrannical society. The glimpse she provides, through symbolism, demonstrates to the reader the main themes of the novel, and allows the reader to identify the failures of Gilead in upholding its principles. A closer look at chapter two of The Handmaids Tale foreshadows many of the thematic elements established throughout the novel. The idea of family, represented by the Late Victorian house, the necessity of both the wives and the handmaids, represented by the color of the flowers, and the notion of time, represented by the grandfather clock are the books integral themes.
. In the beginning, Offred sees her body as important and views it as an instrument. The burdens of Offred’s daily life in Gilead eventually change the way that Offred sees things about herself. As she states, “[She] used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is the story of Offred in the new country of Gilead. Gilead is the country that replaces the United States after a group of religious extremists who overthrow the existing government replace it with a patriarchal form of government; women are subservient and aren’t
In Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood writes about a dystopia society. Atwood used situations that were happening during the time she began writing her novel, for example, women’s rights, politics, and in religious aspects. Atwood’s novel is relevant to contemporary society. There are similarities between Atwood’s novel and our society today, which lends to the possibility that our modern society might be headed to a less intense version of this dystopia society.
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.