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The Rights Of Women In The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood

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In the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, life in the newly formed dystopian society of Gilead is partial to the rights of women. Once the college town of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gilead has produced laws that prohibit women from writing, reading, conversing in a casual manner, having jobs, purchasing items, and even forming intimate and meaningful relationships. They are brought down to just a means of reproduction. Those who reproduce are called Handmaids and one such Handmaid is Offred. Her way of adapting to such a drastic change of lifestyle is to separate her mind from her body, to dissociate herself from what’s happening around her and to her. Pollock, the author of The Brain in Defense Mode, cites a definition of dissociation…show more content…
Professor Drummond brings up the endowment effect in her paper which states that “we tend to overvalue what we already have” or “we prefer what is to what might be.” This is observed with the behavior that Offred exhibits such as always being willing to please, staying compliant, and giving up her body to Gilead. In the end, Offred says “I have given myself over into the hands of strangers, because it can’t be helped” (295). This horrible place has become her safehouse, her comfort zone and she will do anything to keep it that way. “The attraction of the status quo is that it allows us to remain within our comfort zone” (Drummond). Offred is aware of her own compliance as she states that “I have failed once again to fulfill the expectations of others, which have become my own” (73). This infers that the expectations of Gilead have become her own. She has become a part of Gilead and is unable to leave now that she has completely given herself up to it. While it would seem like Offred should be upset by this it is actually the opposite. Yes, it is a sad situation, but Gilead is her comfort zone and any chance of escaping it scares her. Offred’s dissociation suggests that it’s her way of solidifying her chances of survival against the harsh society of Gilead, which is important because in furthering her own continuity, she becomes averse to the idea of taking any risks that might harm those chances. This can be observed during the monthly ceremony performed with
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