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

Length: 1607 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. ...


... middle of paper ...


...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).”

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Importance Of Intimacy In The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- What exactly is intimacy. Intimacy plays a big part in The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and is a topic that has numerous definitions. When talking about the word "intimacy," most quickly direct their attention to "sexual tension" or something to this degree. However, it is defined as the state of being close to someone. This could mean family, friendship, or relationship. If one is intimate with someone else, it does not have to mean anything sexual. Intimacy shines down on Offred and is a vital part of the novel and shapes her character by giving her independence, imagination, and freedom....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]

Better Essays
1075 words (3.1 pages)

The Handmaid 's Tale By Margaret Atwood Essay

- In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, there is an apparent power struggle between Offred and the Commander. The Gilead Society’s structure is based off of order and command. This is what creates a divide between genders and specifies gender roles in this novel. Without this categorization of the roles and expectations of women, the society would fall apart at the base. Thus, the Commander, being the dominant gender set forth by the society, has control over Offred. Offred is consistently cautious when it comes to interacting with the Commander....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]

Better Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale Essay example

- Many texts that were published from different authors have introduced topics that can be related in today’s society, but Margaret Atwood’s creation called, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, gives voice to the thoughts and revolves around the narrator Offred, a woman whose rights have been deprived due to political issues. However, the information shared by Offred to the reader to the text is not reliable for the reason that she only touches upon her own perspective. Through the text, Atwood depicted what the United States of America would be in the future based on the actions of humanity during 1980’s....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]

Better Essays
1147 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

- I Tell, Therefore I Am In Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are subjected to unthinkable oppression. Practically every aspect of their life is controlled, and they are taught to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for their commander. These “handmaids” are not allowed to read, write or speak freely. Any type of expression would be dangerous to the order of the Gilead’s strict society. They are conditioned to believe that they are safer in this new society. Women are supposedly no longer exploited or disrespected (pornography, rape, etc.) as they once were....   [tags: Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale]

Free Essays
878 words (2.5 pages)

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Essay example

- Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale In "The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood tells a saddening story about a not-to-distant future where toxic chemicals and abuses of the human body have resulted in many men and women alike becoming sterile. The main character, Offred, gives a first person encounter about her subservient life as a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a republic formed after a bloody coup against the United States government. She and her fellow handmaids are fertile women that the leaders of Gilead, the Commanders, enslave to ensure their power and the population of the Republic....   [tags: Atwood Handmaid's Tale Essays]

Better Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about The 's Tale By Margaret Atwood And Never Let Me Go By Kazuo Ishiguro

- A Warning: To Not Be A Robotic World Humanity is defined by love, emotions, and sex. The society in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood really restricts women from the act of sex for pleasure/emotional connection. The society in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro restricts intimacy, and while sex is allowed, it is frowned upon. The governments in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro both take advantage of women’s bodies and communicate negative feelings about sex....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood]

Better Essays
1245 words (3.6 pages)

Handmaids Tale Analysis Essay

- Throughout The Handmaid’s Tale, the author Margaret Atwood gives the reader an understanding of what life would be like in a theocratic society that controls women’s lives. The narrator, Offred gives the reader her perspective on the many injustices she faces as a handmaid. Offred is a woman who lived before this society was established and when she undergoes the transition to her new status she has a hard time coping with the new laws she must follow. There are many laws in this government that degrade women and give men the authority of each household....   [tags: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood, Theocracy]

Better Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Vision of Feminism in the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Essay

- Feminism in the novel The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood is a prominent theme. This novel represents the morals and horrors of a vision of feminism, which is sometimes taken to the extremes. Women’s rights have been downgraded and as a result of this women are used to bear children and are constantly watched by the eye. The Handmaids are considered powerful figures in the novels’ society while living in a dystopia of cultural feminism, which cause them to be degraded women with a loss of identity....   [tags: cultural, rights, identity, feminism]

Better Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Feminism in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

- Feminism in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood explores the role that women play in society and the consequences of a countryís value system. She reveals that values held in the United States are a threat to the livelihood and status of women. As one critic writes, “the author has concluded that present social trends are dangerous to individual welfare” (Prescott 151).  The novel is set in the near future in Gilead, formerly the U.S., at a time when the population rate is rapidly declining....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Better Essays
1097 words (3.1 pages)

Differences and Similarities Between Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

- The purpose of this essay is to analyse and compare the narrative situations proposed by Franz Stanzel in the dystopian novels Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. For this aim, I am going to focus on the aspects focalization (reflection), relationship reader-narrator, narrative distance, knowledge, and reliability and demonstrate that they affect the interpretation of the novel by readers in a significant way. In the end, I will draw conclusions on how these techniques serve to alienate the narratives from their science fiction setting to set even more disconcerting issues about human’s existence....   [tags: narrative situations, science-fiction, characters]

Better Essays
1820 words (5.2 pages)