Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: Men Will be Men

  • Length: 588 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Men Will be Men in The Handmaid's Tale

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Offred's world is not even its proximity, but its occasional attractiveness. The idea that women need strict protection from harm is not one espoused solely by the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan, but also by women like Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon. This protectionist variety of feminism is incorporated in the character of Offred's mother, and to a certain degree in Aunt Lydia. Offred's mother is just as harsh in her censorship of pornography as any James Dobson. By burning the works which offend her, she too is contributing to the notion that women's safety is contingent on squelching the Bill of Rights. The restriction of sexually explicit pictures places the blame for sex crimes on women, again -- the women in the photographs who supposedly drive men to rape. Where have we heard this before? Who else refuses to hold rapists responsible for their own actions, choosing instead to restrict the behavior of those they consider the catalysts?

Aunt Lydia is depicted as being mildly psychotic, but the "freedom from" that she offers seems oftentimes almost soothing. To be free of fear of rape would be a wonderful thing. To force men to act respectful seems not too bad. We can observe this attitude on our own campus, where the student government holds a "nightwalk" every few years. On these walks, dangerous areas are marked out and reported to the Physical Plant and the campus police. In response, bushes and trees next to walkways are demolished to discourage possible attackers who might conceal themselves in them. More halogen lamps are installed. More foot patrol officers walk potential problem spots. Every year the campus looks less like a university and more like an armed camp, but we accept these ugly alterations on our environment in the name of safety. It doesn't seem like such a high price to pay.

In a way, many women already live in a sort of Gilead. They would not dream of going out alone. They feel unfulfilled without children. They do not read (they don't have the time.) They occupy little more than a servant's position in their own homes. Their access to abortion is denied. They already live under so many unreasonable restrictions and expectations -- what's a little more, if it comes with a guarantee of safety?

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: Men Will be Men." 18 Mar 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
The Handmaid's Tale Essay - In Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear a transcribed account of one womans posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste. Fear is power. Fear is ever-present in Gilead; it is implemented through violence and force....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
904 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Handmaid's Dystopia - The Handmaid's Dystopia "The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopia about a world where unrealistic things take place. The events in the novel could never actually take place in our reality." This is what most people think and assume, but they're wrong. Look at the world today and in the recent past, and there are not only many situations that have ALMOST become a Gilead, but places that have been and ARE Gileadean societies. We're not in Kansas any more, Dorothy. Even today there are places in the world where there is startling similarity to this fictitious dystopia....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 1495 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Feminism Lost in Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale Essay example - In Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, the human spirit has evolved to such a point that it cannot be subdued by complacency. Atwood shows Gilead as an extremist state with strong religious connotations. We see the outcome of the reversal of women’s rights and a totalitarian government which is based on reproduction. Not only is the government oppressive, but we see the female roles support and enable the oppression of other female characters. “This is an open ended text,…conscious of the possibilities of deconstruction, reconstruction, and reinterpretation … Atwood engages in metafictional commentary …in her storytelling and by the time the reader arrives at the text, Atwood has already to...   [tags: The Handmaid’s Tale Essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
1523 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: An Analysis - The Handmaid's Tale The novel, The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood focuses on the choices made by the society of Gilead in which the preservation and security of mankind is more highly regarded than freedom or happiness. This society has undergone many physical changes that have led to extreme psychological ramifications. I think that Ms. Atwood believes that the possibility of our society becoming as that of Gilead is very evident in the choices that we make today and from what has occured in the past....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 651 words
(1.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Struggle of Women - The Struggle of Women in The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale This is a futuristic novel that takes place in the northern part of the USA sometime in the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the oppressive and totalitarian Republic of Gilead. The regime demands high moral retribution and a virtuous lifestyle. The Bible is the guiding principle. As a result of the sexual freedom, free abortion and high increase of venereal diseases at the end of the twentieth century, many women, (and men also, but that is forbidden to say), are sterile....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 850 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Red Motif - The Red Motif in The Handmaid's Tale In the dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" written by Margaret Atwood, the recurrent appearance of the color red draws an interesting yet perverse parallel between femininity and violence. The dominant color of the novel, red is associated with all things female. However, red is also the color of blood; death and violence therefore are closely associated with women in this male-dominated ultraconservative government. We are first introduced to the color red when the narrator is describing how she gets dressed: "The red gloves are lying on the bed....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 539 words
(1.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: The Oppression of Women - The Oppression of Women in Handmaids Tale         Within freedom should come security. Within security should come freedom. But in Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, it seems as though there is no in between. Atwood searches throughout the novel for a medium between the two, but in my eyes fails to give justice to a woman’s body image. Today's society has created a fear of beauty and sexuality in this image. It is as though a beautiful woman can be just that, but if at the same time, if she is intelligent and motivated within acting as a sexual being, she is thought of as exploiting herself and her body....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 627 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Handmaid's Tale as a Warning to Society - The Handmaid's Tale as a Warning to Society Margaret Atwood's renowned science fiction novel, The Handmaid's Tale, was written in 1986 during the rise of the opposition to the feminist movement. Atwood, a Native American, was a vigorous supporter of this movement. The battle that existed between both sides of the women's rights issue inspired her to write this work. Because it was not clear just what the end result of the feminist movement would be, the author begins at the outset to prod her reader to consider where the story will end....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 934 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Women in the Handmaid's Tale: Objectification and Value in Reproductive Qualities - Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale is a work of speculative fiction. The Republic of Gilead is a dystopic society, especially for the women. Women in the novel are stripped of their freedom, while men are entitled to a portion of their freedom. This novel is one that illustrates inequality towards women. A focus for the Republic of Gilead is to increase the declining birth rate. Within the phallocentric society of the Republic of Gilead, re-population results in women being objectified and valued for their reproductive qualities....   [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays] 1130 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The United States as a Dystopian society in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale - In the Days of Anarchy To live in a country such as the United States of America is considered a privilege. The liberties that American citizens are entitled to, as declared in the Constitution, makes the United States an attractive and envied democracy. It would be improbable to imagine these liberties being stripped from American society. However, Margaret Atwood depicts the United States as a dystopian society in her novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The first society is modern America, with its autonomy and liberal customs....   [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale] 1122 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

And the handmaids' lives, for the most part, are not so very horrifying as they might be. As long as they produce children, there is not much demanded of them. They are not expected to compete with one another or with men, to be good mothers to the children that they bear, to take part in hard labor, to study, to think at all. They are protected and well-fed. Isn't this, at some childish level, appealing?

The government in this book is not one entirely perpetuated by men. It could not succeed without the Aunt Lydias who make this handmaid's life so palatable to so many women. It could not succeed without the frustration of so many women who are so tired: tired of living in fear, tired of being harrassed on the streets, tired of working full-time for half-pay, tired of trying to raise their children alone, tired of taking the blame for everything that goes wrong with the family. If every woman fought back tooth and nail, Gilead could not exist. But perhaps these women did not see their lives, our lives, as things worth fighting for.


Return to