Power in The Handmaid's Tale As you read through the handmaid’s tale you see the relationships of the characters develop and the fight for power, however small that glimpse of power may be. The images of power can be seen through out the novel, but there are major parts that stand out to the reader from the aunt’s in the training centre to the secret meetings between the Commander and Offred. The first we see of the struggles of power between people is when the novel opens and we first see the aunts of the red centre with their electric cattle prods and their stern moral teaching and their stern looks. The aunts are given small amounts of power by the male dominated regime, like the ability to carry the cattle prods but no other weapons.
Callaway, A. A. (2008). Women Disunited: Margaret Atwood's The handmaid's tale as a critique of feminism. SJSU ScholarWorks , 48-58.
Prayers and Powers: Religion and Feminism in The Handmaid’s Tale Being a transcript of the Thirteenth Symposium on Gileadean Studies, June 25, 2196. Keynote speaker: Professor Maryann Crescent Moon, Department of Caucasian Anthropology, University of Denay, Nunavit. (Applause). Thank you, and I promise that I will keep within my time period, in both senses of the phrase, of course (Laughter).
Andrew Tubbin Senior Inquiry 6/7/17 Handmaid’s Tale Essay Is it fair to say that we still live in a world where everyone isn’t equal? Or some are treated with more respect than others? Do you think society will ever have the urge to change?
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. Her purpose in writing this serious satire is to warn women of what the female gender stands to lose if the feminist movement were to fail.
The oxford dictionary refers to the word “utopia” as being a place of “paradise, heaven on earth” as well as perfection. It can be labeled as a place that is the most desirable in any nation on earth and can sum up what we as humans search for. “A Handmaid’s Tale” depicts a twisted, yet not to far off, version of our country not to long ago when we lived in the opposite of this so-called paradise. No word can describe this story better than the opposite of utopia, a “dystopian” society. The entire U.S. government fell into a dystopian-type ruling when the very laws created by the government served to treat women as no more than maids and harlots. In this chaotic story, Margaret Atwood depicts a society where men and women fall into the rules of the old testament based on older beliefs describing women as lesser individuals compared to men. Atwood shows the similarities between the Republic of Gilead and the way we used to see the roles of women as well as some aspects of society today. Her overall reason for creating this story is to show her readers around the world the scary truth and effects of the belittlement of women and disregarding them as more than just wives and housemaids.
Dystopian novels are often used to array compelling political arguments and messages during periods of reform and influential eras. One notable, prize-winning dystopian novel is Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, which addresses the discrimination and feminist backlash faced by the women of the 1980’s. It is depicted through the story of Offred, a fertile sex slave, called a handmaid, whose sole purpose is to become pregnant and repopulate the disease and pollution stricken society of Gilead. Atwood’s persuasive novel has shown resolute influence throughout the years, displayed through Jennifer Hodson’s analytical thesis, “American Trends and American Fears: An Analysis of the Women's Movement and the Religious Right as Envisioned in Margaret
“We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths.” (Atwood, p4) The handmaids whisper to each other to exchange information. They engage in this conversation to keep alive the nature of relationships between people. It is very lonely for these women, for they cannot say what is on their mind, they are only allowed pre-approved phrases from Gilead’s authorities Without this contact it would be impossible for the women to reminisce and be comforted. Another way of keeping the past real to Offred is to remember old stories from before the revolution. She spends a lot of her time thinking about her husband Luke and how the city used to look before, “Lilies used to be a movie theater here, before. Students went there a lot; every spring they had a Humphrey Bogart festival with Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn, women on their own, making up their own minds” (Atwood, 25). These small rebellions that Offred and other handmaids participate in are very significant. The simple fact that they choose to engage in these insurgences shows that they still cling on to their more just and free past. They still have a notion of truth and are keeping it alive. Having these passions and feelings causes the structure of Gilead to truly not work, and will probably (The Handmaid’s Tale was left open ended) lead to its demise.
Point of View -told in first person from Offred’s point of view -story is set in the present tense, however it often switches to past tense in flashbacks Offred has of her old life -much of her narration focus on her emotional mentality and reflections of her past -point of view is important to the novel because the reader interprets Gilead from only Offred’s interpretations -key aspects to the novel are only revealed as Offred decides to willingly share them -the read must put more trust in the narrator in this type of situation in believing what they say is the truth -however, this novel also hints at a unreliable narrator in that of Offred as she reveals she wishes she could change her story and also parts of it she has changed -“It’s a story I’m telling in my head, as I go along” (Chapter 7). -through the narration, Offred can seem at times very present and at other very distant to the reader in her attempt to tell a full story with attempting to reveal much detail about herself Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
The ability to create life is an amazing thing but being forced to have children for strangers is not so amazing. Offred is a handmaid, handmaid's have children for government officials, such as Commander Waterford. Offred used to be married to Luke and together they had a daughter but then everything changed; Offred was separated from her family and assigned to a family as their handmaid. The society which Offred is forced to live in shaped her in many ways. In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood uses cultural and geographical surroundings to shape Offred's psychological and moral traits as she tries to survive the society that she is forced to live, in hopes that she can rebel and make change.