Power in The Handmaid's Tale

analytical Essay
1127 words
1127 words

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. "No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns. Guns were for the guards…" This extract shows the us that even the Aunts with there limited power can not carry guns as the regime will not trust them with that amount of responsibility or power due to their gender, it is even remarkable that the aunts are given the little power that they have considering how the regime feels about the role of the woman in their society. This little amount of power gives the aunts the feeling that the are superior to the other women in the society it also allows them to push their views and opinions onto the handmaids that they are also entrusted to look after by the regime which from what we see they do well and try and treat the handmaids like daughters that they will punish if the women disobey any of the rules of the regime. As seen by the way they treat Moria after her first attempt to escape from the red centre. The aunts are also very confident within them selves and the position that they h... ... middle of paper ... ...entioned forms of Offred’s power were not physical power. She also has the most physical power as she is the person who carries the baby and gets pregnant. Then later in the novel after Serena suggests about seeing Nick. Offred is given a cigarette and then a match and with that match Offred could burn the house down killing the Commander and Serena and then trying to escape. She could burn herself so that she no longer has to live or suffer the indignity of being continually raped by this society. From the displays of power that have been shown through out this essay, we see that this story is a story about power. Power is the story is primarily about peoples need for some small amount of power to survive in life and to feel that hey have a purpose within their society which every society it may be whether its is Gilead or Nazi Germany or modern day Britain.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how serena joy displays her power by the way she looks at offred at the front door of the commanders house.
  • Analyzes how the men with the most power in gilead are given positions of importance, guns, and are able to kill anyone who they feel is a traitor to the cause.
  • Analyzes how offred gains confidence and power from things that the other characters do throughout the novel. the commander invites her to his private quarters and gives her gifts.
  • Analyzes how offred does not want to know that ofglen is a member of the movement. she contemplates suicide after serena joy suggests that she go to see nick and sleep with him to get pregnant.
  • Analyzes how power is a story about people's need for some small amount of power to survive in life and feel that they have purpose within their society.
  • Analyzes how atwood shows the power of the aunts in the handmaid's tale at their most dangerous.
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