In The Handmaids Tale citizens must abide by the new rules, therefore they are in constant fear of punishment which includes death. “Abortion, possibly the key issue of the Christian political movement, also had its federal funding eliminated, even though attempts to limit or outlaw abortion itself were fought successfully on Constitutional grounds.” (Napierkowoski) Many people like to argue that men are also mistreated in the novel. Men, such as the Commander, may desire to experience a true connection, this can be seen between the Commander and Offreds’ secret affair. The difference between the Commander and the Handmaids is that the Commander gets to raise a child unlike the Handmaids which are just seen as sex machines. “My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher. Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he’s doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved” (Attwood 94). Shows how they are only used as sex machines…. Gilead believes that women are valuable if they are fertile and can reproduce. It can be seen in history where it is seen as the women’s fault, with Henry the Eighth. He killed his wives because they were unable to give him a son, when in reality Henry the Eighths gene left him unable produce a
The Handmaid's Tale, a film based on Margaret Atwood’s book depicts a dystopia, where pollution and radiation have rendered innumerable women sterile, and the birthrates of North America have plummeted to dangerously low levels. To make matters worse, the nation’s plummeting birth rates are blamed on its women. The United States, now renamed the Republic of Gilead, retains power the use of piousness, purges, and violence. A Puritan theocracy, the Republic of Gilead, with its religious trappings and rigid class, gender, and racial castes is built around the singular desire to control reproduction. Despite this, the republic is inhabited by characters who would not seem out of place in today's society. They plant flowers in the yard, live in suburban houses, drink whiskey in the den and follow a far off a war on the television. The film leaves the conditions of the war and the society vague, but this is not a political tale, like Fahrenheit 451, but rather a feminist one. As such, the film, isolates, exaggerates and dramatizes the systems in which women are the 'handmaidens' of today's society in general and men in particular.
Margaret Atwood’s harrowing novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, follows the story of a woman marginalized by the theocratic oligarchy she lives in; in the Republic of Gilead, this woman has been reduced to a reproductive object who has her body used to bear children to the upper class. From the perspective of the modern reader, the act of blatant mistreatment of women is obvious and disturbing; however, current life is not without its own shocking abuses. Just as the Gileadian handmaid was subject to varied kinds of abuse, many modern women too face varied kinds of abuses that include psychological, sexual, and financial abuse.
In her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood has created the fictional Republic of Gilead, in which women are heavily oppressed by the newly installed regime. The new regime values women solely on their fertility, thus objectifying them to no more than a means of reproduction. By confiscating control over the process of and the rights to reproduction, the Gilead regime denies women ‘’any sense of control or independence’’ (Byrne). In this essay, I will argue that, although the female body is the main subject of oppression in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, it is also the key to resistance for women in the so-called nation of Gilead, and that women hold the ultimate bargaining power, as they have the ‘’final say’’ on what happens to their bodies.
In “The Handmaid 's Tale” by Margaret Atwood, there is the addressing of freedom, abuse of power, feminism, rebellion and sexuality. The audience is transported to a disparate time where things normalized in our current society are almost indistinguishable. Atwood uses each character carefully to display the set of theme of rebellion within the writing, really giving the reader a taste of what the environment is like by explaining detailed interactions, and consequences as well as their role in society.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood is a story set in an alternate future in which birth rates have plummeted immensely. In the Republic of Gilead, they seem to have found a solution for this decline in birth rates: handmaids. Handmaids are women who are fertile. They go to houses of wealthy and powerful couples who cannot bear children and have sexual intercourse with the male of the house (also known as the Commander). The problem with this solution is that it is forcing women, such as our narrator Offred, to have sex. When Offred and the Commander have sex, it is during a ritual called the Ceremony. Other than the Ceremony, sex is forbidden. Although, there are still some situations in which it occurs. For instance, at Jezebels, a
The Bible is distorted once again to manipulate the women during the Women's Prayvaganzas. The Commander hosting the service makes a speech to the crowd: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection All But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve?(221). The Bible is once again used selectively, isolating only the passages that pertain to Gilead's interests, which in this case is restricting women to be submissive. Gilead is trying to implement the fact that women should be subservient to men in society by literally justifying it from a myth in the Bible. This is only one of the stories of creation in Genesis, and is secluded and appropriated to make the women believe that "if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety,?(to the Republic of Gilead) "they shall be saved by childbearing?(221). The theocracy of Gilead encourages the handmaids and women in their society to continue to obey the hierarchies of their totalitarian-like regime, and in turn also have them provide children
Paula Hawkins, a well-known British author, once said, “I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.” In Margaret Atwood’s futuristic dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale, a woman named Offred feels she is losing control over everything in her life. Offred lives in the Republic of Gilead. A group of fundamentalists create the Republic of Gilead after they murder the President of the United States and members of Congress. The fundamentalists use the power to their advantage and restrict women’s freedom. As a result, each woman is assigned a specific duty to perform in society. Offred’s husband and child are taken away from her and she is now forced to live her life as a Handmaid. Offred’s role in society is to produce a child
Over the past 200 years sexual liberation and freedom have become topics of discussions prevalent within western culture and society. With the recent exploration of sexuality a new concept of sexual and gender identity has emerged and is being analyzed in various fields of study. The ideology behind what defines gender and how society explains sex beyond biology has changed at a rapid pace. In response various attempts to create specific and catch all definitions of growing gender and sexual minorities has been on going. This has resulted in the concept of gender becoming a multi- layered shifting hypothesis to which society is adapting. Since the 19th-century, philosophers and theorists have continued to scrutinize gender beyond biological and social interpretation. Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale captures the limitations and social implications forced upon a set gender based on societal expectations. Gender is a social construct that limits the individual to the restrictions and traditions of a society, or if it’s an individually formed self-identification of sex and sexuality that is formed autonomously. Evidence of gender establishment can be seen within literary works and supported by various schools of gender and sexuality theory.
In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood explores the role that women play in society and the consequences of a countryís value system. She reveals that values held in the United States are a threat to the livelihood and status of women. As one critic writes, “the author has concluded that present social trends are dangerous to individual welfare” (Prescott 151).
In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Offred recounts the story of her life and that of others in Gilead, but she does not do so alone. The symbolic meanings found in the dress code of the women, the names/titles of characters, the absence of the mirror, and the smell and hunger imagery aid her in telling of the repugnant conditions in the Republic of Gilead. The symbols speak with a voice of their own and in decibels louder than Offred can ever dare to use. They convey the social structure of Gileadean society and carry the theme of the individual's loss of identity.
the Biblical context, however, is irrelevant to the modern society which existed before the coup. The context of the scripture is that of an ancient patriarchal society where men often had multiple wives whose value was to produce progeny, and the Judaic laws accorded women few rights. Though there are some similarities between ancient times and Gilead-the high infant mortality rate and death in childbirth--scripture is used by Gilead as a means to an end. In order to increase the birth rate, the regime forced the wives to accept their roles as barren women, hence inferior people, and surrogate mothers. Consequently, the handmaids are not seen as whole people at all, just reproductive machines. Offred observed that her uterus made her like a womb on legs. At the Red Center, the women listened to a tape of the Beatitudes, and Offred knew the reading was incorrect. She recollects, "'…Blessed be the meek. Blessed are the silent.' I knew it was wrong, and they left things out, too, but there was
Depending on the class in society, the women have certain freedoms towards sex. The Handmaids are only allowed to have sex with the Commanders. Not only are the Commanders the only ones with whom they are allowed to have sex with, but they also have to have sex with them because it is their job. The Handmaids are forced to have sex with the Commanders solely for the purpose of reproducing. If the Handmaids do not reproduce, it means failure. “Each month I watch for blood, fearfully, for when it comes it means failure”(84). It is not stated if the Marthas are able to have sex or not. The Marthas fall into their place because they are unable to reproduce; therefore they are not forced to have sex like the Handmaids. The Wives are allowed to have sex with their husbands. The wives have no restrictions placed on them saying they can have sex with their husbands. The wives can do this because they have a significant amount more power than the other women in the society. The wives have this
“There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from,” (Atwood 24). The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, is a novel set in the near future where societal roles have severely changed. The most notable change is that concerning women. Whereas, in the past, women have been gaining rights and earning more “freedom to’s”, the women in the society of The Handmaid’s Tale have “freedom froms”. They have the freedom from being abused and having sexist phrases yelled at them by strangers. While this may seem like a safer society, all of the “safeness” comes at a drastic cost. Atwood depicts a dystopia in The Handmaid’s Tale