The Importance Of Intimacy In The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

The Importance Of Intimacy In The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

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Flaws and Purpose… The Importance of Intimacy
What is a part of human nature that everyone needs, wants, and cannot live without? The answer is intimacy, and when this basic human function is stripped away it creates a sense of unfulfillment in life. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian masterpiece, that takes a leap at explaining the role of intimacy in life. This simple four syllable word is quite ambiguous, so what does it mean to be intimate or have intimacy? To be intimate or have intimacy means to have affection, sexual intercourse, or a loving personal relationship with an individual. Intimacy takes many forms, and in this novel we have the opportunity to see all of these forms take place through the eyes of Offred. This simplistic word/action, intimacy, gives Offered a sense of power and vulnerability showing not only the flaws of Gilead, but also its purpose.
Intimacy allows Offred to gain power in the novel, allowing for a sense rebellion from Gilead. In chapter 4, Offred as well as Ofglen travel in pairs into town in order to go shopping. On this journey there is a checkpoint where two Guardians are operating the post. When a Guardian checks for Offred’s pass he tries to look at her face and by the way he does this, it is assumed he is wanting a kiss, but is not permitted. As Offred walks away from the checkpoint, she notices the guardians are looking. Offred then subtly, but seductively, sways her hips in order to show her power and describes it as “teasing a dog with a bone held out of reach…(Atwood 22).” This scene shows while Offred is limited at what she is allowed to do, ultimately, so are these Guardians. These men are not allowed to have sex until marriage, and must be allowed for even that. ...

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...l of what is happening. The lack of independence Offred now has, allows her to be more susceptible and more willing to do whatever it is Gilead wants. Intimacy in this form acts as a weapon to further the motives and objectives of Gilead.
All stemmed from one action, intimacy ripples power and vulnerability to Offred revealing the flaws of Gilead, and also Gilead’s purpose. This theme of intimacy rings throughout the novel, not only through Offred, but through every character. Without intimacy in The Handmaid's Tale, the novel would not have allowed for such an emotional intriguing story. By removing this activity from the society of Gilead, it allows for the reader to not only understand the importance of intimacy on the characters in the novel, but also in the real world. As Offred would say “nobody dies from lack of sex. It’s lack of love we die from (Atwood 103).”

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