Theme Of Freedom In The Handmaid's Tale

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“[W]e are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else 's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make” (Berry). In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood the protagonist Offred lives through a changing of society, in which is described by Aunt Lydia in the new society as the difference of freedom to and freedom from. The complexities of freedom are examined through social norms, relationships, and safety in society. As Offred notices the differences between her old life and her life now readers, especially North American readers, see how much freedom they take advantage of as a society. Social…show more content…
This greeting references declining birth rates, the word open refers to their hope that the birth rate will rise. This is an acceptable topic among Handmaids because it keeps them thinking about their job as a Handmaid, to give birth to a child for the Commander and his wife. In pre-Gilead greetings could be as simple as breezing into a room and asking if someone has “[g]ot any cigs” (62). In pre-Gilead everyone had the freedom to ask what they wanted and the freedom to withhold that information if they so chose to; whereas in Gilead, they have the freedom from having to make awkward small talk or trying to ignore a very forthright person. Schooling and work in Gilead for the Handmaids are not discussed openly other than the Red Center where the Handmaids learn how to be a Handmaid. In the Red Center, the Handmaids are forced to cooperate with the Aunts by…show more content…
Marriage, friendships, and families are all controlled by government restriction. Gilead deems it acceptable to arrange marriages between a Guardian and a girl who has just started her menstrual cycle, because “arranged marriages have always worked out just as well, if not better” than falling in love (Atwood 254). However, in pre-Gilead falling in love, friendships, casual sexual relationships, and not having a significant other were all accepted. Gilead gives the freedom from having to choose, but pre-Gilead gives you the choice of what you want to do with your life. Just the same with having friends, Gilead does not accept friends because with friends comes gossip and other illegal actions. In contrast, in pre-Gilead everyone has the freedom to befriend whoever they want and can choose not to be friends with someone if they so choose. Having a family is an important concept in pre-Gilead, Offred and Luke would spend a lot of time together with their daughter, they ate meals together and spent quality time together, whether it be going on vacation, having a picnic or to the park. However, in Gilead family is extremely controlled especially in a Commander’s family, they co-exist in the same house. The Handmaid eats in her room while the Commander and his wife eating the dining room the Marthas would presumably eat after everyone is finished. During the day everyone goes their separate ways, the wife gets control over
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