In Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, social turmoil after a staged terrorist attack has led to a totalitarian Christian regime. In this dystopian future, the roles of men and women are much different than in today’s society. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women are unequal because they have no choice about their bodies, their dress, or their relationships.
In The Handmaid’s Tale there are three types of women: handmaids (the breeders), wives (the trophies), and the marthas (servants.) The narrator of the novel is Offred, who is a handmaid. Handmaids are women with viable ovaries. Every two years, handmaids are assigned to a commander; the leader of the household. Weekly, the handmaid and Commander try and conceive a child through an event called The Ceremony; involving three people, the wife, a handmaid and the Commander. Say no more. Handmaids are held to strict standards, purity, silence, and obedience. A handmaid’s only goal is to bear children.
"Not with standing she shall be saved by childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." (Chapter 34, page 198)
Handmaids are seen as “vehicles of childbirth” and if they are unfertile they are not true women. Women without viable ovaries are known as Unwomen. They are women who do not serve any useful purpose and are either emitted to the colonies (dirty “ghettos”) or killed.
Handmaids are not just the society’s wombs: they must be submissive; they cannot speak their mind, even to each other. No matter how much pain one woman is in, she must still follow God’s laws:
"Blessed be the fruit," she says to me, the accepted greeting among us.
"May the Lord open," I answer, the accepted response. (Chapter 3, page 1...
... middle of paper ...
...e wings hide my face, and keep walking. He 's just taken a risk, but for what? What if I were to report him? “(Chapter 3, page 14)
Neither of them are supposed to communicate in any way. The breaking of this rule can have the punishment of death.
Atwood is known for writing about societal issues. The Handmaid’s Tale is no exception. It clearly shows the role of women in a dystopian society and mirrors parts of our culture today. This book may be an extreme version of parts of our culture today, but Atwood used it as a form of exhibition. Everyone playing his or her stereotypical allows you to think and compare to the world around you.
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” (Chapter 10, page 48)
Atwood writes this as a way of saying that we mustn’t ignore the issues around and uses this book to educate others.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- An important issue in today’s society is the gender inequality of men and women in the labor force. There are many different aspects that add to this issue as a whole, two of the most important ones including the differences in wages of men and women, and the view that women should stay at home and raise their children. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, provides an interesting view on this subject, showing what would happen if this issue was left untouched through a world ruled by men. Although this issue has been addressed in some ways in the past, there are many unturned stones where improvements should be made to ensure an equilibrium in men 's respect for women, and vice versa.... [tags: Gender, Gender role, The Handmaid's Tale]
1099 words (3.1 pages)
- Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel about a society, Gilead, that has been formed in the former Boston, Mass. area. The society is theocratic and patriarchal with all woman’s rights stripped away. A quote that briefly describes how women are viewed within in the society is "Gilead constructs women as seen objects instead of seeing subjects." (Kirkvik, Anette. "Gender Performativity in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games." University of Norway, May 2015. Web). Men try to not only control women but also how women are viewed, to have total control.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Science fiction]
2099 words (6 pages)
- Throughout history women have achieved more political and human rights. In many societies around the world today women are discriminated against and are not equal to mean. Feminism is not a concept that is often present in dysfunctional societies. In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a group of fertile women, known as handmaids, are assigned to a married couple and told that they must produce a child. The article titled “The feminist cupcake sale that led to death and rape threats” written by Madeline Price, depicts the events that took place at a university in Australia.... [tags: Gender, Feminism, The Handmaid's Tale, Gender role]
1457 words (4.2 pages)
- Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre entails a social criticism of the oppressive social ideas and practices of nineteenth-century Victorian society. The presentation of male and female relationships emphases men’s domination and perceived superiority over women. Jane Eyre is a reflection of Brontë’s own observation on gender roles of the Victorian era, from the vantage point of her position as governess much like Jane’s. Margaret Atwood’s novel was written during a period of conservative revival in the West partly fueled by a strong, well-organized movement of religious conservatives who criticized ‘the excesses of the sexual revolution.’ Where Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a clear depiction of the subjug... [tags: relationship, women, gender]
1786 words (5.1 pages)
- In regards to civic responsibility, women should have a choice on their level of involvement and contributions to society. Every woman has different circumstances and thus makes it impossible for one standard of involvement to be set. Every individual woman has a different level of comfort in regards to political involvement, work place involvement, reproductive involvement, and familial involvement; all of which contribute to the well being of society in different ways. Authors Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler both support the idea of different roles for different women in their books The Handmaid’s Tale and Kindred.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood, Slavery]
1509 words (4.3 pages)
- The Handmaid’s Tale In the novel, The Handmaid 's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, a totalitarian government in the Republic of Gilead conducts an important role throughout the novel. The government attempts to completely isolate women. Women in the society are completely separated from reality, having little touch with the outside world, and are then segregated further under their gender. Offred, a main character throughout the novel, is an example of how badly Gilead considered women. Women are under severe control with many limitations such as the need of a headscarf and the incapability to wear makeup.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, can be described as a feminist novel. I think that reading this novel from a feminist perspective is the easiest way to analyze the text in this novel. While doing some research, Dictionary.com, states that the word feminism mean, “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other tights of women to those of men.” In this particular novel, the wives and Handmaids pretty much serve the men. While conducting my research in this novel, I also sensed a slight form of Totalitarianism.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Science fiction]
711 words (2 pages)
- In Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaids Tale’, we hear a transcribed account of one womans posting ‘Offred’ in the Republic of Gilead. A society based around Biblical philosophies as a way to validate inhumane state practises. In a society of declining birth rates, fertile women are chosen to become Handmaids, walking incubators, whose role in life is to reproduce for barren wives of commanders. Older women, gay men, and barren Handmaids are sent to the colonies to clean toxic waste. Fear is power. Fear is ever-present in Gilead; it is implemented through violence and force.... [tags: The Handmaid's Tale Essays]
904 words (2.6 pages)
- The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaids Tale, written by Margaret Attwood, goes on to explore the consequences that come to be from the reversal of womens rights in a society called Gilead. It is what one can consider a cautionary tale. In the new world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists have taken power, and have turned the sexual revolution upside down. The society of Gilead is founded on what is to be considered a return to traditional values, gender roles and the subjugation of women by men, and the Bible is used as the guiding principle.... [tags: Margaret Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1987 words (5.7 pages)
- A Handmaid's Tale A new society is created by a group of people who strengthen and maintain their power by any means necessary including torture and death. Margaret Atwood's book, A Handmaid's Tale, can be compared to the morning after a bad fight within an abusive relationship. Being surrounded by rules that must be obeyed because of being afraid of the torture that will be received. There are no other choices because there is control over what is done, who you see and talk to, and has taken you far away from your family.... [tags: Handmaid's Tale Essays]
1650 words (4.7 pages)