The Handmaid 's Tale Literacy Essay

1841 WordsMay 5, 20158 Pages
ENG4U: The Handmaid’s Tale Literacy Essay Shoshannah Lewis Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the closely monitored, male dominant area of Gilead where women are deprived of their sexual and human rights, forbidding them to live independently. For many years prior to Gilead’s existence, women were seen as inferior to men and neglected of basic human rights such as voting, career opportunities, and equal salaries. The Republic of Gilead was later introduced following the transition of the United States’ government into a totalitarian leadership style, giving the government complete and all power amongst society. Very similar to the second wave of feminism, where women fought for reproductive rights, women are doing so in this near future setting of Gilead. In the novel, a future is revealed in which female fertility has completely dwindled. Thus, women who are still fertile are labeled “Handmaid’s” and are sent to different upper class commanders for reproduction. With this being said, the fact that only certain women are capable of reproduction forces completion amongst the sex due to the high sexual standards society expects the female gender to meet. The novel follows a Handmaid by the name of Offred, and her fight with sexual repression and exploitation of women within the corrupt Republic of Gilead’s. Atwood takes an alternative method of portraying feminism throughout this novel by writing a stark contrast of feminism, portraying the women within The

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