Theme Of Women In The Handmaid's Tale

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In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, women have one purpose- to reproduce. Offred, the protagonist, subjects to the command of Gilead, a dystopian society “in which a brutal patriarchal regime deprives women of power and subjectivity, enslaving them through a sophisticated, ubiquitous apparatus of surveillance” (Cooper 49). She is under the stringent control of the Commander. In the mid-1980’s, the President of the United States was assassinated and an oppressive group of people seizes control. A new nation, known as Gilead, is formed, in which women and minorities are degraded. In Gilead, women are merely a political instrument, used solely for reproduction. After the formation of Gilead, the nation is ill-struck with pollution due…show more content…
All control is given to men. The women are divided into castes and “…are assigned a particular role and concomitant dress and duties, with no hope of ever breaking free of these roles except through prostitution, exile, or death” (Callaway 22). Handmaids wear red signifying the blood of menstruation and childbirth. Wives of the commanders wear blue signifying their importance and upper class. Because of their envy of the Handmaids, the Marthas wear green. Econowives wear stripes because of the vast distribution of economic status. The women of Gilead have no say in what class they are part of. They are simply objectified based on their past. Women are merely a pawn within Gilead’s oppressive government. Gilead is corrupt, filled with corrupt individuals. The Handmaids never know who to trust are often left questioning the trustworthiness of their officials. Throughout the city, Eyes patrol the streets, looking for those breaking the laws. Eyes are often in disguise, conducting tests in order to apprehend law breakers. In the beginning of The Handmaids Tale, as Offred leaves the Center, Nick winks and whistles at her. She wonders if “perhaps it was a test, to see what I [Offred] would do. Perhaps he is an Eye” (Atwood 18). It is as if the Eyes want to make people act outlandish. Why would the officials be so corrupt in a government that they created? Towards the middle of the book, the Commander requests time alone with Offred. They
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