Atwood uses symbolism to reflect the entrapment women living in Gilead are experiencing. During a pivotal conversation between the Commander and Offred on the subject of how the Republic was formed, Offred contemplates her own existence, imagining she is entirely confined, stating, “I lie flat, the damp air above me like a lid” (Atwood...
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...e, the world previous to Gilead was witnessing an optimistic future. In Atwood’s dystopian novel, these rights soon disappeared, resulting in the conditioning of women to behave appropriately in society. They were depleted of their sexual desires, forced to conform to their commander’s wishes, and ultimately donated their bodies as surrogates. Their right to access contraception or abortion had been completely revoked, leaving them without any control. No longer were they preparing for a future closer to overall equality, but rather succumbing to a present day hell, where the idea of women of power is a myth. Atwood uses symbolism, allusion and conflict to illustrate the barrier between men and women. She warns the readers of the societal troubles resulting from female restrictions and challenges them to work towards a future where men and women are viewed as equals.
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