The Handmaid's Tale and Family Values

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The Handmaid's Tale and Family Values

In the olden days, religion and politics went hand in hand. The

church either ran the land or had a strangle hold on the people. If the

church thought there was one way to do something, one had to do as the

church requested or suffer great penalty. To go against the church was to

go against God, and that meant death. The king was supposed to be chosen by

God to rule the people in the way he commanded. The king was the closest

thing to God on earth. Monarchs generally ruled hand in hand with the

church. As the monarchy's rein started to come to an end, the church's

tight grip on the citizens slowly started to loosen. With the implication

of democracy, the church lost all real power to make laws and actually

govern the people. The church still held power over peoples' morals, but

without the monarchy's to enforce it the church's found their power

decreasing. In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, the government and

the church are interchangeable. The government is what used to be called

the church, they have come together to become one unit of power. The power

of a modern day government with all the knowledge and weapons combined with

the fanaticism of a medieval based church create a dictatorship like none

other. The novel deals with the treatment of children harshly for a society

which views children as their last hope, their most valuable commodity.

Children are taken away from their homes to be given to the privileged, and

women are forced to give birth to babies they can not keep. The society of

Gilead takes the views of a traditional religious monarchy and enforces

them with modern day power.

In the novel The Handmaid's Tale, there is a place called the "Red

Center", which is a training facility. When one thinks of a training

facility they tend to invision a military base with young soldiers learning

what they need to know to survive. Atwood's "Red Center" is very similar

to this type of facility; it has soldiers inside the facility and people

are being taught how to survive. Women in the "Red Center" are being taught

how to become submissive to the new order.

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