Theme Of Apathy In The Handmaids Tale

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The Theme of Apathy in Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” In life, people don’t always stand up for what they believe in in order to avoid exclusion – this is called apathy. In specific situations, people will blindly follow a primitive ideology without any regard for morality. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent example of how apathy can affect an entire population. This novel is by and large a feminist novel that addresses the ignorance in imperialistic and religious ideologies, but also addresses the issue of human apathy. In this novel, Atwood offers a disturbing look into what could be. The alterior motive of the society is to purify and improve the country as a whole. However, it is not only nationalism and imperialism…show more content…
Due to the fact that the Wives are not allowed to sleep with their husbands, the Wives are all extremely envious of the Handmaids. In Gilead, Serena is deprived of a life of genuine freedom and is forced to watch her husband sleep with his Handmaid. This makes her extremely bitter and jealous and so she takes this out on the Handmaids–including the main character–although it is not exactly their fault. Although the reader is sympathetic to her emotions, they are still completely unfair. The fact that Serena feels hostility towards the Handmaids is ignorant because she knows that they have not chosen their position in society, but rather they were forced into it. At the end of the novel, Serena finds out about Offred’s secret visit to Jezebel’s. She is mostly upset with Offred, which is completely unreasonable because the Commander had forced her to accompany him to Jezebel’s. This is a direct example of the feminist way of thinking: it’s always the fault of a women’s promiscuity, not a man’s. Serena’s attitude supports the order of Gilead, because she tortures the Handmaids, who cannot help themselves. She knows that these women are forced to become Handmaids, yet she still continues to envy them and punish them. Although she should, she has no sympathy for other women and plays the exact role that society requires her to. Women like her allow Gilead to function because they enforce the…show more content…
Throughout the majority of the novel, Offred recounts on her mother’s character, whom she thinks is dead. She was a single mother and a proud feminist. In the first quarter, Offred recounts on a flashback of her mother burning porn magazines, claiming that they are degrading to women. However, towards the end of the novel, Offred learns that she is in fact alive, yet is living in the Colonies. Moira had seen her in a video about women living the Colonies, which is completely contrasted from the beginning, when Offred viewed her mother in a documentary protesting. This shows how Gilead has significantly changed her as a person. Living in the Colonies is just as bad as death because although she is alive she is required to do menial and even dangerous labour like cleaning radioactive waste. Earlier in the book, during Offred’s flashbacks, her mother was always a strong female character. She was always speaking and acting on behalf of women’s rights, yet now she has not fulfilled these expectations. She has been subjugated and indifferent like the rest of the women, not at all optimistic and energetic like she was in her previous life. Her complicity shows the reader how oppressive the society is and how even the toughest characters become
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