The Handmaid's Tale: Societal Complacency Essay

The Handmaid's Tale: Societal Complacency Essay

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After reading the Handmaid's Tale, I felt that Societal Complacency was the most critical aspect to the success of the Gilead Society. The Republic of Gilead is a run by a strict Old Testament religious doctrine. This government does not tolerate anyone who does not conform, it is run mostly by fear. Fear of death or the wall or being sent to radioactive colonies. This new government is cruel towards women, it robbed them of their humanity under the guise of protecting them. This new republic has forced women to give up jobs, forbidden them from reading, they control or regulate sexual activity as well as reproduction and birth, they have also prohibited or limited speech between women and even renamed women so that it fits in with a more biblical society. The Governments goal is to turn women into dumb subservient slaves dependent on men. The Republic of Gilead is based on "traditional values" with the households being strictly patriarchal. The sexes are strictly divided in this book both men and women have strict protocol they must follow. Both men and women are separated by class and social status defined by the color they wear.

The Gilead Society has segregated women into different caste systems. There are six main categories in the caste system. The first are the Wives, who wear blue dresses and are at the top of the female hierarchy. Their main purpose is reproduce with their husbands, if they are unable then Handmaids are used. Then there are Daughters, either the natural or adopted children of the ruling class. They tend to wear white until marriage. The next are the Handmaids, fertile women whose sole purpose is to reproduce children for the wives. Handmaids wear a full red dress outfit with red gloves, red shoes, and...


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...hat it was the women participation that allowed the government to regulate every aspect of their public and private lives. Women such as the Aunts especially Aunt Lydia where willing participants in the republic by indoctrinating women to the new way of life. The women became the eyes and ears to the government, condemning other women who don't follow the laws. If the women had the strength to rebel they might not have been able to change much but, at least they were taking a stand on what they believed in. The government had such control on every aspect through rules, conduct and rituals that were followed by the people with little to no questions by the people. That is why I feel that Societal Complacency played such a role in the success of the Republic of Gilead.



Works Cited

Artwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. New York: McClelland & Stewart, 1985. Print.

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