Free Handmaid's Tale Essays: An Analysis

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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. Our actions will inevitably catch up to us when we are most vulnerable. "We are for breeding purposes..There is supposed to be nothing entertaining about us, no room is to be permitted for the flowering of secret lusts..We are two-legged wombs, that's all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices (p. 176)." In the society of Gilead, the most highly valued aspect of life is giving birth to a healthy child without deformities. Gilead was the aftermath of a nuclear world war (or some type of chemical mishap involving most of the world). As a result of this, some women and men are left sterile and unable to increase the significantly decreased population. The women who are fertile are placed in institutions where they are trained in the process of pregnancy and child bearing, those who are not are left to die in areas with concentrated radiation. This society has undergone a change so extraordinary that it has taken us from one extreme to the next, leaving many people wondering what happened to make it so. The things that were most highly honored and respect are now treated with disdain. These changes were not all detrimental but the majority of them we could have done without. Ms. Atwood poses that humankind has a nature to develope, whether that development is for the empowerment or destruction of our society is unknown until the consequences take place. "I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will...There were limits, but my body was nevertheless lithe, single, solid, one with me...Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I'm a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping (p.

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